20 Athletes Killing It in Different Countries Now

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2013

20 Athletes Killing It in Different Countries Now

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    We've seen a variety of athletes make names for themselves in other leagues around the world, only to become All-Stars in the sports scene over here in the States.

    Guys like Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui and Yao Ming are a few that come top of mind.

    Just like those guys though, there have been a few athletes who made a killing here first, and continued their careers in international leagues.

    These are the ones who have made the transition quite easily.

Jordan Farmar

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    NBA Averages: 7.7 PPG, 2.8 APG, 42 percent shooting

    As a late-first round out of UCLA, Farmar was looked at as a role player on the perennially solid Lakers squad.

    After collecting two titles in that role and bouncing around to the Nets and Hawks, he signed with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish League in the summer of 2012.

    Since then, he's averaged 14.2 PPG on 46 percent shooting.

Kenji Johjima

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    MLB Averages: 17 HR, 69 RBI, .268 AVG.

    When the Mariners signed Kenji Johjima from the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in 2005, the catcher had won a number of Japan League awards—including the 2003 league MVP and seven Gold Gloves.

    So it wasn't a complete shock that he had some success for the M's over the length of his four years in the Majors.

    In his return to the Japan League in 2010 for the Hanshin Tigers, he belted 28 homers and drove in 91 runs, proving that he still had game.

    However, he's been injured the past several seasons, struggling to regain his form.

Paul Davis

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    NBA Averages: 2.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 40 percent shooting

    After a successful college career at Michigan State, Paul Davis found himself fall into the early portion of the second round in the 2006 NBA Draft.

    While playing for the Clippers and Wizards, he struggled with playing time and consistency.

    Since jumping to BC Khimki of the Russian Pro League though, he's seen his numbers and minutes go up, leading to an increase in his stats.

Brad Friedel

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    Career Stats: 552 club appearances, 82 U.S. national team appearances

    Thanks to more recent U.S. national team members making the leap to the EPL and other international club teams, Friedel tends to get forgotten.

    Make no mistake, though, he's been overseas since being on loan to prestigious club Newcastle United in 1994, and at age 41 is still going strong for Tottenham Hotspur, compiling a 1.21 goals against average for Spurs this season.

Jonny Flynn

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    NBA Averages: 9.2 PPG, 3.9 APG, 40 percent shooting

    As a highly-touted lottery pick coming out of Syracuse in 2009, Flynn found himself on the outside looking in amongst the crowded backcourt in Minnesota—which also featured Ricky Rubio, who was drafted a spot ahead of him.

    Struggling with consistency, Flynn took his talents down under, joining Australian League team Melbourne Tigers, upping his numbers to over 17 PPG and nearly 6 APG, while earning an All-Star trip in 2012.

Sasha Vujacic

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    NBA Averages: 5.6 PPG, 1.3 APG, 35.5 percent shooting

    Though Sasha Vujacic was a favorite of Kobe Bryant during his time with the Lakers, the Slovenian-born guard didn't have as much success in the Association as he may have liked.

    He did hook-up with tennis hottie Maria Sharapova—as the two were actually engaged at one point—but that was really the highlight of his time here in the States.

    Returning to Europe to play for Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball League, Vujacic has played much better, averaging over 10 PPG and shooting over 40 percent this season.

Terrence Boyd

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    Career Stats: 101 club appearances, seven U.S. national team appearances

    Just 22 years old, Boyd may be a player U.S. national team manager Jürgen Klinsmann calls upon for years to come, because he's proven this season that he definitely has talent.

    Recording his 16th goal of the season the other day for club team Rapid Wien of the Austrian Football Bundesliga, Boyd would look really good up top alongside current Yank Jozy Altidore, wouldn't he?

Alex Ramirez

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    MLB Averages14 HR, 58 RBI, .259 AVG.

    Though Ramirez only stepped into a major league batter's box just a total of 350 times, had he ever gotten a chance to play a full season, his numbers may have been respectable.

    Since that didn't happen, he found himself jumping to the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan, playing for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

    Heading over in 2001, Ramirez has belted Japanese pitching, earning the Central League MVP in '08 and '09, and winning two Japanese League titles.

Lester Hudson

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    NBA Averages: 4.8 PPG, 10.3 MPG, 37 percent shooting

    Known from his college days as the only player in NCAA history to record a quadruple-double, Hudson wasn't able to parlay his success while at UT-Martin into the pros.

    He finally left the States for China, where he played last season with the Dongguan Leopards—before recently signing with the D-League's Austin Toros.

    While in China, the dude averaged 27.5 PPG, topping out with a 51-point effort in a losing effort late last year.

Jozy Altidore

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    Career Stats: 147 club appearances, 65 U.S. national team appearances

    Our single favorite player on the U.S. team right now is Altidore.

    Thanks to his combination of power, speed and aggressiveness, it's hard not to like the 23-year-old striker from Jersey.

    Joining the Dutch League Eredivisie's club team AZ Alkmaar in 2011, he's recorded 33 goals and 61 caps—including 18 scores this season—showing why he's so highly regarded among the U.S. national team ranks.

Gilbert Arenas

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    NBA Averages20.7 PPG, 5.3 APG, 42 percent shooting

    Finishing in the top-five in scoring for three-straight seasons, "Agent Zero" proved to be one of the most lethal scorers over the past decade.

    That all ended once injuries bit him, though, forcing him to leave the NBA for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he's continued his steady play by averaging 20 PPG in just over 27 minutes for his new squad.

    He's said to have enjoyed his time in China, so who knows if we'll ever see him back on an NBA roster again?

Tracy McGrady

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    NBA Averages19.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 43.5 percent shooting

    Much like the aforementioned Arenas, we all know Tracy McGrady from his scoring days in the Association, finishing in the top-10 in points six times in his career.

    For a number of reasons though—age and injuries among the top—"T-Mac" was resorted to going overseas and playing in the Chinese Basketball Association for the Qingdao Eagles.

    Unsurprisingly, he's returned to lighting up the scoreboard, averaging 25 PPG this season.

Tim Howard

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    Career Stats402 club appearances, 85 U.S national team appearances

    Timmy Howard is arguably the most accomplished goalie in U.S. history.

    Even after the previously mentioned Brad Friedel helped pave the path for Yanks to play overseas between the pipes, Howard has established himself as one of the world's best.

    Currently playing for EPL team Everton and averaging a 1.25 GAA this season, he also picked up 45 caps for Manchester United for four seasons, proving he has what it takes to be a top-flight keeper in the world.

Manny Ramirez

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    MLB Averages39 HR, 129 RBI, .312 AVG.

    Manny Ramirez may best be known for being one of the most aloof players in Major League history, but when it wasn't just "Manny being Manny," he could knock the cover off the ball.

    Thanks to some bad decisions in using illegal enhancers in the majors, Ramirez is now playing for the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, trying to resurrect what's left of the 40-year-old's career after jacking his first homer the other day.

    We love Manny, so here's to hoping he has a good year, while entertaining the fans over there—which we're sure won't be a problem for him.

Quincy Douby

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    NBA Averages143 total games, 4.1 PPG, 38.9 percent shooting

    After enjoying a solid career for Rutgers, Douby was selected in the first round by the Kings in the 2006 NBA Draft.

    Struggling to find playing time, he ventured to the Chinese Basketball League's Zhejiang Golden Bulls to help propel his career.

    It might be his best decision yet, as he lead the league in scoring at 32.5 PPG, dropping a record 75 in one game this season. 

    We don't care what league that's in, it's impressive stuff.

Craig Brazell

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    Minor League Averages: Never made it to the majors.

    The former fifth round pick of the Mets in the 1998 Draft, Craig Brazell bounced around the minor leagues until he decided to make the leap overseas in 2007.

    Known for his bat, the first baseman has impressed since joining Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball League, averaging more than 22 homers in the four years that he's been there.

Bobby Brown

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    NBA Averages5.1 PPG, 12.8 MPG, 38 percent shooting

    As an undrafted free agent coming into the league out of Cal State Fullerton in 2007, there weren't great expectations for Bobby Brown.

    But after playing for a couple NBA teams, he showed that it was his prerogative to take over the Euroleague since 2010.

    Averaging 18.8 PPG and 5.3 APG, he's raised his game to a level no one probably thought he ever would, finishing among the leaders in numerous Euroleague categories this year—meaning some NBA teams may come calling.

Clint Dempsey

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    Career Stats276 club appearances, 94 U.S. national team appearances

    Dempsey is hands-down the most successful current U.S. national team player to play overseas, hitting up the EPL since 2007 and earning great praise since joining first-class club Tottenham Hotspur in 2012.

    As a goal-scorer and playmaking striker, Dempsey seems to have earned the highest deal for an American player in history with his performances thus far.

Stephon Marbury

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    NBA Averages19.3 PPG, 7.6 APG, 43 percent shooting

    While Stephon Marbury had some solid years during his 13-year NBA career—including two All-Star games—he fell out of favor and jumped to the Chinese Basketball Association's Beijing Ducks in hopes of resurrecting his career.

    By averaging 28.3 points on 58.8 percent shooting this season, the former No. 4 overall pick proved that even at 36 years old, he still has some serious game.

    He's even become so popular, that he was given a bronze statue!

Marcus Williams

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    NBA Averages1.1 PPG, 13 total games

    Never short on talent, some of us may remember Williams from his time at the University of Arizona in the early part of the decade, but since heading to the Shanxi Zhongyu of the Chinese Basketball Association, he's been going off.

    After averaging 30.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game this past season, he's established himself as a star.

    Problem is, he got caught smoking that green and subsequently ended up suspended for six months by the league.

    Once he's back though, we expect some good things to continue—well, at least on the court.