As we’re living in a more globalized world each day, more and more European basketball players make their way to the NBA. Time for us to honour some great European stars who made an impact in the NBA during the past 10 years. This ranking is based on the best European performers between the 2009-10 season and the 2019-20 season. European legends have something in common. They love to stay with the same franchise for a long time, showing their loyalty and love for the team. Today, we take a closer look at our first pick. As we all miss the NBA right now, we hope you enjoy this read. And most importantly, take care.
1. Dirk Nowitzki ( retired ) Age: 41
Dirk Nowitzki might go down in history as the greatest European basketball player to ever play the game. He was born on June 19, 1978 in Wurzburg, West-Germany. The place where Nowitzki played professional basketball for the first time in his career.
After his short professional career in Wurzburg, Nowitzki got drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, as the 9th pick in the NBA draft. Immediately after he got picked by the Bucks, Nowitzki got traded to the Dallas Mavericks, who became the love of his life.
The German Power Forward played for the Mavericks from 1998 till 2019. That’s 21 seasons… with the same team. Nowitzki averaged 20.7 PPG and 7.5 RPG during this 21-year-span. That’s huge. After a tough 1998-1999 season, in which Nowitzki struggled as a Rookie, he went to became one of the best Power Forwards in the history of the game.
The seven-foot Power Forward had a unique style of play, to say the least. He was known for his scoring ability, his versatility and especially for his trademark fadeaway jumpshot, which was a beauty to watch. He revolutionized the game of Power Forwards, moving the game of the big men further outside the paint area.
Dirk won the MVP award in 2007, averaging 24.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG and 3.4 APG, while shooting 52% from the field. Nowitzki led his team to fifteen playoff appearances. The Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011, after a tight battle with the Miami Heat. An absolute highlight in the career of Dirk Nowitzki. The German won the Finals MVP award.
Dirk came into the NBA with the skills to become an All-Star, and eventually ended his career as a 14-time All Star. Apart from Nowitzki, there are just only five other players to have scored more than his 31,560 points in NBA history. But most importantly, Dirk revolutionized the game of basketball. Nowitzki retired in 2019, after being completely worn out. We all miss you, Dirk!