Over the last 25 years, the NBA has truly become a global entity. As recent as the late '80s, the international NBA player was a novelty, with a handful spread around the league in any given year.
Stereotyped and typecast, many languished on benches or conformed their games to fit the needs of the team. As everything else, however, things change. Paradigms shift. Evolution takes hold.
Now that small number of players has exploded; the NBA has come to embrace the talents of foreign-born players, and they have had a profound impact on the league. This from sabc1:
85 international players from 41 countries and territories ended the 2010-11 season on NBA rosters. Twenty-eight of the 30 teams feature at least one international player
NBA games and programming reached 215 countries and territories in over 40 languages during the 2010
The effect of the international player on the NBA is undeniable, and it is time to celebrate the with an NBA All-International team.
For the purpose of the piece, only foreign-born and raised players are considered. Players like Patrick Ewing, who was born overseas but raised in the states as a child, are excluded. Players from U.S. territories are also ineligible (sorry, Tim Duncan). Finally, players who were born in the U.S. but lobbied for foreign citizenship (and there are many) are not considered.
Let's get started.