The NBA's Most Fertile Foreign Frontiers

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The NBA's Most Fertile Foreign Frontiers
Joe Murphy/Getty Images
Slovenia's Goran Dragic drives on Team USA's Derrick Rose.

Basketball doesn't stop when the NBA season ends. Instead, the game goes global, with international tournaments and overseas tours by the sport's biggest stars to fill the summer months.

Kobe Bryant went to China, and he took Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard with him. USA Basketball will be one of 24 national teams partaking in the upcoming FIBA World Cup of Basketball, and it should still come away with gold despite the absences of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin, among others.

There are even signs of basketball's worldwide expansion back in the states. Sim Bhullar, a 7'5" behemoth of a rookie, recently became the first player of Indian descent to sign an NBA contract—notably, with the Sacramento Kings, whose owner, Vivek Ranadive, hails from India.

"I’ve long believed that India is the next great frontier for the NBA, and adding a talented player like Sim only underscores the exponential growth basketball has experienced in that nation," Ranadive said in the team's press release.

"While Sim is the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA franchise, he represents one of many that will emerge from that region as the game continues to garner more attention and generate ever-increasing passion among a new generation of Indian fans."

Bhullar, a Toronto native, could be but the first of many players to blaze a trail from south Asia to the NBA. Still, such a pipeline may well take years, if not decades, to develop, much less to a level where it can compete with those of the following hoops-heavy countries.

The following slides are listed in alphabetical order and are based on established NBA players and those who might gain such a foothold in the foreseeable future.

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