Heading into the 2010-11 NBA season, Dirk Nowitzki was regarded by many as a great basketball player, one of the top-50 of all time—No. 39 according to Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball —who just couldn't get it done in the clutch and would most likely be remembered, along with Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, as a talented player who couldn't win a championship
Of course, that all changed when Nowitzki decided to play one of the greatest stretch of games in the history of the NBA playoffs, shooting 48.5 percent from the field, 46 percent from three-point range and an incredible 94 percent from the free throw line (175-186) en route the Dallas Mavericks first NBA Championship in their 31 years as a franchise.
As a result, Nowitzki solidified his legacy as one of the best to ever play game. Here's a blurb from one of Simmons' articles on Grantland.com: "We'll remember him as one of the 20 best basketball players of all time, the best European player ever, one of the best shooters ever, someone who came through when it mattered."
So, if Nowitzki is the best European-born player of all-time, who are some of the European-born greats in the NBA?
In this article, I'll examine the top-20 European-born players of the last decade (2001-2011).
Before I start, here are the guidelines that I used to create this list:
**NOTE: The players that were born in the part of Turkey that is considered to be a part of Asia don't qualify (Mehmet Okur and Ersan Ilyasova)**
1. All players must be listed as born in a European country on ESPN.com.
2. A player doesn't qualify is he was born in another country but now is considered as a European citizen.
3. As long as a player was born in Europe, it doesn't matter how long he lived there for.