Sports Center ranked Steve Nash of Phoenix Suns stardom, among the top foreign-born NBA players of all time.
In a world without sports, ESPN’s Sports Center is really having to dig deep for their top 10 lists. Last night, they featured who they considered the NBA’s top 10 foreign-born players of all time, and the Phoenix Suns legend, Steve Nash made the list, coming in at #5.
Here was the complete list:
10. Dikembe Mutumbo – Congo
9. Manu Ginobili – Argentina
8. Tony Parker – Belgium
7. Pau Gasol – Spain
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Greece
5. Steve Nash – South Africa
4. Dominique Wilkins – France
3. Patrick Ewing – Jamaica
2. Hakeem Olajuwon – Nigeria
1. Dirk Nowitzki – Germany
ESPN ranks Phoenix Suns icon, Steve Nash, fifth-best foreign-born NBA player.
Remarkably, no country is featured twice, as foreign-born NBA stars have been spread out fairly well across the globe. This relatively short list showcases four continents and I could make a case Yao Ming was unjustly left off, which would make five.
And if I’m being nitpicky, Kyrie Irving was technically born in Australia and he’s worthy of consideration too.
The most umbrage with this list, though, is likely to come from Milwaukee Bucks fans as their MVP and unguardable superhuman, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is listed at #6. Even the Sports Center anchors called this out as a circumstance of timing, with Zubin Mehenti saying, “This guy is subject to change if we do this again in five or 10 years. He’s going to be closer to #1.”
That’s true. It feels like a matter of time before the Greek Freak wins more MVPs and possibly an NBA title or two. Tack on another decade of uncanny stats and Dirk better enjoy his top-ranking while it lasts.
For now, though, Giannis is behind Dirk’s old teammate and Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor inductee, Steve Nash. Everyone’s favorite long-haired Canadian was actually born in South Africa, but his back-to-back MVPs rank above Tony Parker, who was also born in a country with which you don’t typically associate him (Belgium not France), and his four NBA titles.
Parker’s championship partner, Manu Ginobili, got a little more love than I would have given him (again, no Yao Ming?), but he did swat a bat out of midair on the court once, which has to be worth something.
The other big surprise of this list is Patrick Ewing, not because he is undeserving of a high ranking (he is), but he’s another guy you forget wasn’t born in the US (he was born in Jamaica), especially considering he was on the 1992 Dream Team.
The Phoenix Suns currently have six foreign-born players on their roster: Ayton, Rubio, Saric, Baynes, Okobo, and Diallo.
As a call back to my under-appreciated Hamilton post this weekend: immigrants, they get the job done.