Throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s, it was believed that European NBA players could only shoot. It required championship-caliber players such as Paul Gasol, Tony Parker, and Dirk Nowitzki to eradicate this sentiment.
So Many Non-American NBA Stars!
Yet, arguably the four greatest players during the 2022-23 NBA regular season were not born in the United States: Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Luka Doncic. With American stars such as LeBron, KD, and Steph Curry aging and the next-generation players such as Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, and Ja Morant still a few years away from complete dominance, the game will continue to be dominated by international players, each of whom is a product of basketball’s globalization over the last few decades. Need more convincing? In recent years, Jokic and Giannis have dominated MVP voting, with each player winning consecutive trophies, Jokic, Giannis, and Embiid have concluded as the top three vote-getters for the NBA’s most prestigious individual award for the second consecutive year. Now, it’s Embiid’s turn, as he was officially crowned MVP.
Luc Mbah a Moute and Embiid
Luc Mbah a Moute, who played nearly 700 games over 12 NBA seasons, has a vested interest in Embiid’s career trajectory. Their families grew up in the same neighborhood and the two Cameroonians met when Embiid was still a teenager. Mbah a Moute refers to the MVP as “my little brother” and invited him to his camp prior to the big man considering college offers. However, Embiid was not yet the Twitter-savvy child that Americans would come to know and love.
One Can Only Hope
Today, Mbah a Moute specializes in the African sports division as an agent for CAA. He stated, perhaps not surprisingly, that Embiid should have earned MVP honors in each of the previous three seasons. He also anticipates an increase in the number of all-NBA players from Africa in the future years.
Only Time Will Tell
Truth is, the rest of the world is not only capable of generating high-wattage NBA stars, but they are also capable of seizing control of the entire sport. This is something that the world has seen over the course of the past three years, and it is surely something that they will continue to see moving forward as well. Only time will tell if this will be the case, though.