The National Basketball Association, better known as the NBA, is a professional men’s basketball league in North America made up of 29 US teams and one Canadian team.
The NBA, despite only serving North American teams, employs players from all over the world as interest in basketball has grown significantly over the past few decades. The NBA is actively seeking players and either directly or indirectly recruiting them for its league.
This trend can be seen in the composition of the teams in the NBA seasons, in which 108 international players from 42 countries and territories were represented on the opening lists.
Note that these statistics do not take into account American players who are originally from other countries and are children of immigrants.
A significant portion of the international players in the NBA come from Africa and are on the trail of the greats of the past who went to the NBA to make a name for themselves.
African countries have also drawn the craze for the continent now has its own international basketball tournament where scouts from the prestigious North American league look for players. Those who made it into the NBA have proven that they are not only good at the game, but also very good at it.
Seeking to know who the best African basketball stars of the NBA are? Here is a list of the best African basketball stars in the NBA.
5 Best African Basketball Stars
1. Hakeem Olajuwon
Considered the most talented center in NBA history and the best African player in the NBA, Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon is number one on the list of the best African basketball stars.
Hakeem was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1963 and played basketball until moving to the United States in 1980. However, he became one of the top centers the game ever had. He played in the NBA for 18 years, won two NBA championships in 1994 and 1995, and was named MVP of the NBA Finals on both occasions. He was also a 12-time NBA All-Star, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Olympic gold medalist, and many other awards. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen.
2. Steve Nash
Steve Nash is one of the best African basketballers of all time, many said he grew up in British Columbia, Canada and were the result of a Welsh mother and English father. However, he makes this list because he was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1974.
Steve played nineteen seasons as a point guard in the NBA. He played for teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks but is best known for his time with the Phoenix Suns, where he repeatedly won MVP titles. He’s also a member of the prestigious Club 50-40-90, having averaged over 50 percent of field goals, over 40 percent of the 3-point line and over 90 percent of the free-throw line over several seasons. He has led the league a total of five times and supported each game.
Nash was honored for his contributions to various philanthropic causes. In 2006, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2007 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law by the University of Victoria in 2008.
Nash is currently the executive director of the Canada national team and is a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors. He is also a co-owner of a professional soccer team. Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
3. Bismack Biyombo
Bismack Biyombo is an NBA star from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was born on August 28, 1992.
Biyombo was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the seventh overall win in the 2011 NBA Draft before being immediately sold to the Charlotte Bobcats.
He has been ranked as one of the highest paid African players in the NBA with a very bright future and is one of the best blockers in the league.
4. Luol Deng
Luol Deng is another African player who is ahead of the game in the NBA.
Deng was born on April 16, 1985 in Wau, Sudan (now South Sudan). His family left the embattled African nation for England, which granted his family political asylum when the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out.
From England, Deng moved to the US, playing basketball in high school and college. After a year of college basketball at Duke University, Deng took part in the 2004 NBA Draft and was named seventh overall by the Phoenix Suns.
He went on to play for the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and the LA Lakers. In his 14 years in the league, he averaged 15 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists on 45.5% off the ground and 33.2% off three-point territory.
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5. Dikembe Mutombo
The fifth player to list the top 5 African basketball stars is Dikembe Mutombo.
Mutombo was born on June 25, 1966 in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He moved to the United States in 1987 at the age of 21 to enroll for a USAID scholarship at Georgetown University College.
Despite great hopes of becoming a doctor, Mutombo flourished in basketball. After completing his bachelor’s degree in linguistics and diplomacy in 1991, the Denver Nuggets awarded him the fourth overall victory in the 1991 NBA draft.
To date, Mutombo is the highest-paid African player in NBA history. He made more than $ 143 million in his 18 league seasons.