Greatest International NBA Players in LA Lakers History

Joshua SextonSenior Analyst IIOctober 28, 2011

Greatest International NBA Players in LA Lakers History

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    In the midst of talking about all of the great American-born players the Los Angeles Lakers have boasted throughout the years, people seem to forget the team has had a number of international players who have played a significant role in the Lakers becoming the successful franchise we all admire today.

    Here are the five best international players in Los Angeles Lakers history.

5. Ronny Turiaf (France)

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    Ronny Turiaf spent three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, providing energy and physical play off the bench. Since then, the former Gonzaga Bulldog has played for the Golden State Warriors, and currently plays for the New York Knicks.

4. Rick Fox (Canada)

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    Rick Fox spent seven seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, helping them win three consecutive championships in between 2000-2002.

    Fox was best known for his three-point shooting and stellar defense, although his fight with Doug Christie during a 2002 exhibition game is right up there.

3. Mychal Thompson (Bahamas)

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    Mychal Thompson spent five seasons of his career with the Lakers, helping the team win back-to-back championships in 1987 and 1988.

    While Thompson’s career averages are not jaw dropping (13 points, seven rebounds), he provided the Lakers much needed depth in the frontcourt after the team lost to Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson in the 1986 Western Conference Finals.

    Thompson was a perfect backup for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

2. Vlade Divac (Serbia)

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    Divac will likely only be remembered by Los Angeles Lakers fans as being the player that was traded for Kobe Bryant.

    But many people forget Vlade was an above-average center for the majority of his seven-year stint with the Lakers. Divac averaged 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists, including being named to the 1990 All-Rookie Team.

    Divac is one of six players in NBA history to have recorded 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocked shots.

1. Pau Gasol (Spain)

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    Reigning from Spain, Pau Gasol made the Los Angeles Lakers relevant again after being traded to the team in 2008.

    Since then, the team has been to three NBA Finals and won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

    Before Gasol arrived, the Lakers were struggling to stay relevant, reeling from Shaquille O’Neal’s departure in 2004.

    Since joining the team, Gasol has been selected to three consecutive All-Star teams, in addition to being named to two All-NBA Third Teams and one All-NBA Second Team.

    Not only is Pau Gasol one of the best post players in team history. He is undeniably the best foreign player.