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NBA Rosters Will Have 109 International Players From 39 Countries: Giannis, Luka, Jokic, And Embiid Lead The List

NBA Rosters Will Have 109 International Players From 39 Countries: Giannis, Luka, Jokic, And Embiid Lead The List

The NBA celebrates its 75th anniversary this season, hoping to have an exciting campaign once again. This year, the league arguably has the most talent among the teams, including veterans trying to win titles, young stars entering their prime, and rookie players starting their careers in the association. 

There are several players hungry to prove their worth in the league and for another year, a lot of them are foreigners. 109 international players will compete in the NBA this season, marking the eighth consecutive season 100+ players are featured on opening-night rosters. 

A press release revealed that players from 39 countries are competing this season, with some of them dominating the game for the past couple of years. 

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that 109 international players from 39 countries are on opening-night rosters for its landmark 75th Anniversary Season, including a record number of players from Canada (18), Germany (seven) and the Bahamas (three), and a record-tying number of players from Nigeria (five). The Toronto Raptors lead the league with a record-tying 10 international players from a record nine countries on opening-night rosters. The 2021-22 season tipping off tonight marks the eighth consecutive season that opening-night rosters feature at least 100 international players. The number of international players in the NBA has grown from five in the league’s first season in 1946-47 to a record 113 at the start of the 2016-17 season. For the eighth consecutive year, Canada is the most-represented country outside of the U.S., followed by Australia, France and Germany (seven players each). Nigeria, Serbia, Spain and Turkey each have five players.

Every year, the league tries to expand its reach to become an even more global show that can help people everywhere. Several countries have a big representation in the competition this season, demonstrating how big the NBA has grown since its inception. 

For the eighth consecutive year, Canada is the most-represented country outside of the U.S., followed by Australia, France and Germany (seven players each). Nigeria, Serbia, Spain and Turkey each have five players.

The Raptors lead the league with 10 international players, followed by the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder with seven international players each. The Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans each have five.

A record 35 players on opening-night rosters participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) prior to their NBA careers, including Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011), Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns; Bahamas; BWB Global 2016), Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards; Japan; BWB Global 2016) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012). BWB is the NBA and FIBA's global basketball development and community outreach program that has seen 90 former campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents since 2001.

As stated before, some of these players have dominated the competition in recent years and last season's awards are big proof of that. The game is evolving and every season, assets from different backgrounds demonstrate this game is global and you can leave a mark in the NBA regardless of where you come from. 

A record-tying six international players were named to the 2020-21 All-NBA Team: 2021 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks; Greece; ties to Nigeria; All-NBA First Team); Luka Doncic (Mavericks; Slovenia; All-NBA First Team); 2020-21 Kia NBA MVP Nikola Jokic (Nuggets; Serbia; All-NBA First Team); Embiid (All-NBA Second Team); Rudy Gobert (Jazz; France; All-NBA Third Team); and Kyrie Irving (Nets; Australia; All-NBA Third Team).

As part of the NBA.com 2021-22 GM Survey, Doncic and Antetokounmpo were voted the No. 1 and No. 2 players with whom general managers would most want to start a franchise (43% and 40%, respectively), and the No. 2 and No. 3 players most likely to win the 2021-22 Kia NBA MVP Award (33% and 13% of votes, respectively).

Josh Giddey (Thunder; Australia) is poised to become the first NBA Academy graduate to play in the NBA when Oklahoma City visits Utah tomorrow, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. ET on NBA League Pass. Giddey became the first NBA Academy graduate to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected sixth overall by the Thunder in the 2021 NBA Draft.

There are 13 international players on opening-night rosters who have been NBA All-Stars: Antetokounmpo, Dončić, Goran Dragic (Raptors; Slovenia), Embiid, Al Horford (Boston Celtics; Dominican Republic), Gobert, Irving, Jokić, Kristaps Porzingis (Mavericks; Latvia), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers; Lithuania), Siakam, Ben Simmons (76ers; Australia) and Nikola Vučević (Chicago Bulls; Montenegro).

Neemias Queta (two-way player for the Sacramento Kings) is poised to become the first player from Portugal to play in the NBA.

A record 10 former BWB campers were selected in the 2021 NBA Draft, surpassing the previous record of eight set in 2019.

Besides the 109 players that clocked in on the opening night, there are more ballers on two-way contracts, setting another record for the league. Teams are noticing that talent is everywhere and don't want to lose track of players who could help them at some point. 

In addition to the 109 international players on 2021-22 opening-night rosters, there are a record 12 international players from seven countries on "two-way" contracts, including six players who participated in BWB. There are also a number of American players with ties to other countries, including more than 30 players with at least one parent from an African country. Among the American players with ties to other countries are Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat; ties to Nigeria), Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz; ties to the Philippines), Matisse Thybulle (76ers; ties to Australia and Haiti), Juan Toscano-Anderson (Golden State Warriors; Mexico), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves; ties to the Dominican Republic) and Kemba Walker (New York Knicks; Antigua).

Check the full list of international players on 2021-22 opening-night rosters (active and inactive):


Angola 

Bruno Fernando

Boston Celtics


Argentina

Facundo Campazzo*

Denver Nuggets


Argentina 

Gabriel Deck*

Oklahoma City Thunder


Argentina

Leandro Bolmaro*

Minnesota Timberwolves


Australia

Ben Simmons

Philadelphia 76ers


Australia

Jock Landale

San Antonio Spurs


Australia

Joe Ingles

Utah Jazz


Australia

Josh Giddey*

Oklahoma City Thunder


Australia

Josh Green*

Dallas Mavericks


Australia

Kyrie Irving (played for Team USA)

Brooklyn Nets


Australia

Patty Mills

Brooklyn Nets


Austria

Jakob Poeltl

San Antonio Spurs


Bahamas 

Buddy Hield

Sacramento Kings


Bahamas

Kai Jones*

Charlotte Hornets


Bahamas

Deandre Ayton* (ties to Nigeria)

Phoenix Suns


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Jusuf Nurkic

Portland Trail Blazers


Brazil

Didi Louzada

New Orleans Pelicans


Brazil

Raul Neto

Washington Wizards


Cameroon

Joel Embiid*

Philadelphia 76ers


Cameroon

Pascal Siakam*

Toronto Raptors


Canada

Andrew Wiggins

Golden State Warriors


Canada

Brandon Clarke

Memphis Grizzlies


Canada

Cory Joseph (Ties to Trinidad and Tobago)

Detroit Pistons


Canada

Dalano Banton

Toronto Raptors


Canada

Dillon Brooks

Memphis Grizzlies


Canada

Dwight Powell

Dallas Mavericks


Canada

Jamal Murray*

Denver Nuggets


Canada

Josh Primo*

San Antonio Spurs


Canada

Kelly Olynyk*

Detroit Pistons


Canada

Kevin Pangos

Cleveland Cavaliers


Canada

Khem Birch

Toronto Raptors


Canada

Luguentz Dort*

Oklahoma City Thunder


Canada

Nickeil Alexander-Walker

New Orleans Pelicans


Canada

Oshae Brissett

Indiana Pacers


Canada

RJ Barrett*

New York Knicks


Canada

Trey Lyles

Detroit Pistons


Canada

Tristan Thompson (Ties to Jamaica)

Sacramento Kings 


Canada

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander*

Oklahoma City Thunder


Croatia

Bojan Bogdanovic

Utah Jazz


Croatia

Dario Saric* 

Phoenix Suns


Croatia

Ivica Zubac

Los Angeles Clippers


Czech Republic

Tomas Satoransky*

New Orleans Pelicans


Czech Republic

Vít Krejci*

Oklahoma City Thunder


Democratic Republic of the Congo

Jonathan Kuminga

Golden State Warriors


Dominican Republic

Al Horford

Boston Celtics


Dominican Republic

Chris Duarte

Indiana Pacers


Egypt

Abdel Nader

Phoenix Suns


Finland

Lauri Markkanen*

Cleveland Cavaliers


France

Evan Fournier (Ties to Algeria)

New York Knicks


France

Frank Ntilikina* (Ties to Belgium and Rwanda)

Dallas Mavericks


France

Killian Hayes*

Detroit Pistons


France

Nicolas Batum* (Ties to Cameroon)

Los Angeles Clippers


France

Rudy Gobert

Utah Jazz


France

Theo Maledon

Oklahoma City Thunder


France

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Ties to Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Atlanta Hawks


Georgia

Goga Bitadze*

Indiana Pacers


Germany

Daniel Theis

Houston Rockets


Germany

Dennis Schröder (Ties to The Gambia)

Boston Celtics


Germany

Isaac Bonga*

Toronto Raptors


Germany

Isaiah Hartenstein*

Los Angeles Clippers


Germany

Maxi Kleber

Dallas Mavericks


Germany

Franz Wagner

Orlando Magic


Germany

Moritz Wagner

Orlando Magic


Greece

Georgios Kalaitzakis

Milwaukee Bucks


Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Ties to Nigeria)

Milwaukee Bucks


Greece

Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Ties to Nigeria)

Milwaukee Bucks


Israel

Deni Avdija*

Washington Wizards


Italy

Danilo Gallinari*

Atlanta Hawks


Jamaica

Nick Richards

Charlotte Hornets


Japan

Rui Hachimura* (Ties to Benin)

Washington Wizards


Japan

Yuta Watanabe

Toronto Raptors


Latvia

Davis Bertans

Washington Wizards


Latvia

Kristaps Porzingis

Dallas Mavericks


Lithuania

Domantas Sabonis

Indiana Pacers


Lithuania

Jonas Valanciunas*

New Orleans Pelicans


Montenegro

Marko Simonovic

Chicago Bulls


Montenegro

Nikola Vucevic

Chicago Bulls


New Zealand

Steven Adams

Memphis Grizzlies


Nigeria

Charles Bassey*

Philadelphia 76ers


Nigeria

Josh Okogie

Minnesota Timberwolves


Nigeria

Precious Achiuwa

Toronto Raptors


Nigeria

Udoka Azubuike

Utah Jazz


Nigeria

Chimezie Metu

Sacramento Kings


Republic of the Congo

Serge Ibaka (Ties to Spain)

Lo Angeles Clippers


Senegal

Gorgui Dieng*

Atlanta Hawks


Serbia

Aleksej Pokusevski*

Oklahoma City Thunder


Serbia

Boban Marjanovic

Dallas Mavericks


Serbia

Bogdan Bogdanović

Atlanta Hawks


Serbia

Nemanja Bjelica

Golden State Warriors


Serbia

Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets


Slovenia

Goran Dragic

Toronto Raptors


Slovenia

Vlatko Cancar

Denver Nuggets


Slovenia

Luka Doncic

Dallas Mavericks 


Spain

Juancho Hernangómez

Boston Celtics 


Spain

Ricky Rubio

Cleveland Cavaliers


Spain

Santi Aldama*

Memphis Grizzlies


Spain

Usman Garuba (Ties to Nigeria)

Houston Rockets


Spain

Willy Hernangómez*

New Orleans Pelicans


St. Lucia

Chris Boucher (Ties to Canada)

Toronto Raptors


Sudan 

Bol Bol

Denver Nuggets


Switzerland

Clint Capela (Ties to Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Atlanta Hawks


Turkey

Alperen Sengun

Houston Rockets


Turkey

Cedi Osman

Cleveland Cavaliers


Turkey

Enes Kanter*

Boston Celtics


Turkey

Furkan Korkmaz

Philadelphia 76ers


Turkey

Omer Yurtseven

Miami Heat


Ukraine

Alex Len

Sacramento Kings


Ukraine

Svi Mykhailiuk

Toronto Raptors 


United Kingdom 

OG Anunoby (Ties to Nigeria)

Toronto Raptors


Full list of international two-way players:


Canada

Eugene Omoruyi (Ties to Nigeria)

Dallas Mavericks


Canada

Ignas Brazdeikis* (Ties to Lithuania)

Orlando Magic


Croatia

Luka Samanic*

New York Knicks


France

Petr Cornelie

Denver Nuggets


France

Sekou Doumbouya* (Ties to Guinea)

Los Angeles Lakers


France 

Killian Tillie

Memphis Grizzlies


France

Yves Pons (Ties to Haiti)

Memphis Grizzlies


France

Joel Ayayi* (Ties to Benin)

Washington Wizards


Georgia 

Sandro Mamukelashvili*

Milwaukee Bucks


Lithuania

Arnoldas Kulboka*

Charlotte Hornets


Portugal

Neemias Queta (Ties to Guinea-Bissau)

Sacramento Kings


Senegal

Tacko Fall

Cleveland Cavaliers

*Participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program.