What Were The Best British Players To Have Played In The NBA?

The NBA has been the most competitive competition in the world of sport ever since being introduced 73 years ago. Since then, over 70 countries have been represented in the world’s premier basketball competition, with many of them going on to achieve great success. The diversity that is shown in the modern-day form of the NBA can be demonstrated by the reigning champions the Toronto Raptors, with five different nationalities on their roster and an additional few among the staff and front office.

American head coach Nick Nurse also adds some international flavor since he coached many years in Europe (and the UK) before entering the NBA to showcase his coaching talents. One of his current players is British-born OG Anunoby. But, he isn’t the first British player to have graced the courts of the NBA.

Louol Deng

Although Luol Deng was born in South Sudan, he was raised in the United Kingdom and is a British citizen. Therefore, he ranks as one of the best African basketball players ever, as well as one of the best British players of all time. Luol Deng was fierce on the court and has twice been named to the NBA All-Star team. The 6ft 9 (205 cm) in power forward was a first-round draft pick in 2004 and was selected by the Phoenix Suns. However, he was immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls, where he would spend ten years of his career. His success during this time was marked as he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and also won the USBWA National Freshman of the Year award.

Deng was an NBA All-Star selection in two successive years while with Chicago, in 2012 and 2013. After his tenure with the Bulls, he went on to join the Cleveland Cavaliers and then the Miami Heat. His final moves came in 2016 and 2018, where Deng enjoyed his final seasons in the NBA playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves. He retired at the Chicago Bulls after signing a one-day contract in October 2019.

James Donaldson

James Donaldson enjoyed a stellar career in the NBA, which spanned over 14 years. Born in Heacham, England, he decided to pursue his basketball career by attending college at Washington State. During his college days, he averaged 8.5 points per game, and still holds the record for the career blocked shots. He was drafted in the fourth round in 1979, as the Seattle SuperSonics selected him. However, he moved to Italy instead, where he played his rookie season for 3A Antonini Siena in the Serie A.

Donaldson would go on to play for six different NBA teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, and the Utah Jazz. His best season was during the 1987-88 season while he was playing for the Mavericks. His performances earned him an NBA All-Star selection and the Mavericks also reached the conference finals before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 8.203 points in his NBA career and blocked 1,267 shots.

Ben Gordon

Ben Gordon was born in London to Jamaican parents before being raised in the United States. Gordon went on to represent Great Britain in 2008 but missed out on playing in the 2012 Olympics after being traded to the Charlotte Hornets. Ben Gordon played eleven seasons in the NBA after being a first-round pick in the 2004 draft.

While he was a senior in college, he won the NCAA National Championship with the University of Connecticut. 

His rookie season with the Chicago Bulls was a huge success, and Gordon remains the only player to have won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in his first season. His five-year spell with the Bulls was the most successful of his career, and he remains the second-highest three-point scorer in franchise history. In 2009, Gordon left the Bulls for the Detroit Pistons. Later, he also played for the Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic, and G League team Texas Legends. Gordon amassed 11,084 points in his NBA career.

There you have it, the best British players in the history of the NBA. For now, it looks like the NBA will resume the 2019/2020 season in Orlando, but it is not sure yet. If so, what will be the format, and which team is the favorite for the title? Who will be the finals MVP? Never before have there been so many different NBA betting odds.

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