Skip to main content

17 American Born Players Are Playing At The 2022 EuroBasket Tournament

17 American Born Players Are Playing At The 2022 EuroBasket Tournament

The scale of international basketball is absolutely immense. Due to many players originating from countries with poor basketball infrastructure and then moving elsewhere, or vice versa, players can have the choice to represent which country they want.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is of Nigerian descent, was born in Athens, Greece, and he chose to represent Greece. On the flip side, Luka Doncic chose to represent his home country of Slovenia even when he could have become a member of the then-powerhouse Spanish national team, as he played in Spain since he was 14. 

Reddit user u/mzp3256 compiled a list of all the American-born athletes that have chosen to represent their countries or origin at EuroBasket 2022. The 17 American players have represented over 15 countries, with only Greece and Georgia having more than one American-born athlete on the team

Bosnia & Herzegovina - John Robinson
Bulgaria - Dee Bost
Croatia - Jaleen Smith
Georgia - Thad McFadden, Sandro Mamukelashvili
Germany - Nick Weiler-Babb
Greece - Tyler Dorsey, Nick Calathes
Hungary - Mikael Hopkins
Israel - Jake Cohen
Lithuania - Domantas Sabonis
Montenegro - Kendrick Perry
Netherlands - Shane Hammink
Poland - AJ Slaughter
Slovenia - Mike Tobey
Spain - Lorenzo Brown
Turkey - Shane Larkin


Why Did These Players Choose To Not Represent The USA?

Team USA is arguably the most competitive basketball team to get into. The selection criteria only allow elite players to be selected for competitions like the Olympic Games. As a result, these players do have a greater chance of earning international glory playing for their countries of origin instead of the country they were born in.

Many players elect to represent their countries of origin out of respect for where they came from and their parents. Tyler Dorsey is playing for Greece despite being a Southern California native due to the Greek culture in his house. The same goes for NBA All-Star Domantas Sabonis, who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, Arvydas, who was a Lithuanian legend. 

The most fascinating story comes from Shane Larkin, who doesn't have any ties to the country he represents, Turkey. After he left the NBA to pursue EuroLeague basketball, Larkin was embraced as a superstar in Turkey. He became a Turkish citizen after spending a few years there and now represents the national team as well.