Is Dirk Nowitzki the Greatest European Player Ever?

James WongCorrespondent IFebruary 2, 2010

In a modern era where basketball has grown exponentially throughout Europe, a question of who the greatest European player of all-time can be raised.

The influence of the growth of basketball in Europe can be seen first-hand through NBA superstars like Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, and Pau Gasol, established NBA superstars who are highly coveted by their respective teams. 

Dirk Nowitzki might be the embodiment of European playing style; strong fundamentals, smart basketball IQ, and a consistently deadly big-man shooting touch. 

Is Nowitzki the greatest European player of all-time? 

His NBA career certainly suggests so as he has carved out an impressive 12 year career with averages of 22.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 1.0 BPG. In particular, he has dominated the last half-decade and is set to record his sixth straight season averaging 23.6 PPG or more.

Career totals?

Try 20,268 points and counting to go with 7,550 boards and 1,109 three pointers made.

What about percentages?

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Career numbers of 47.3% from the field, 37.8% from the three, and a remarkable 87.8% from the charity stripe.

Beyond the numbers let's not forget a trip to the NBA Finals in 2006, the MVP Award in 2007, and nine selections to both the NBA All-Star and All-NBA Teams. 

In my personal opinion Nowitzki's dominance goes further, as he has consistently been one of the best five players in the NBA since 2005. 

However, in posing the question of who the greatest European player of all-time is, it is only fair to provide alternatives to the sweet-shooting German. 

Gasol and Parker immediately spring to mind, but who else deserves consideration? 

Mehmet Okur, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Peja Stojakovic, and Andrei Kirilenko have all been All-Stars and have earned at least a nod of acknowledgment in the back-end of this discussion. 

Andrea Bargnani and Danilo Gallinari are up-and-coming. 

How about a trip down memory lane?

How about Toni Kukoc, Rik Smits, Detlef Schrempf, or Drazen Petrovic?

Would you pick Sabonis or Divac? 

So who's it going to be?

With the German Wonder still producing Hall of Fame level basketball, it's my opinion that the case is already closed.

Ladies and Gentleman, presenting Dirk Nowitzki: The greatest European basketball player of all-time. 

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