The NBA says a record 120 international players from 40 countries were on the roster when the 2022-23 season opened. France is represented by 9 players including the “two-way contracts”.
This is the ninth season in a row that the season-opening squad has had at least 100 international players. All 30 NBA teams have at least one international (non-American) player.
The previous record for international players was set in 2021-22 with 121 players and the record for countries and territories represented (43) was broken in 2017-18.
For the ninth consecutive year, Canada (23 players) is the most represented country outside the United States, followed by Australia (nine players), France (nine players) and Germany (six players). Nigeria, Serbia and Spain have five players each. There are a total of 58 European players in the squad at the season opener.
The Toronto Raptors have eight international players, marking the second straight season the Raptors lead the league, followed by the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings with seven international players each. Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz have six each.
There are also several American players with ties to other countries. More than 38 players have at least one parent from an African country. American players with ties to other countries include Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat; Nigeria ties), Jalen Green (Houston Rockets; Philippines ties), Matisse Thybulle (76ers; Australia and Haiti ties) , Juan Toscano-Anderson (Lakers; Mexico ties), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves; Dominican Republic ties) and Jaylin Williams (Thunder; Vietnam ties).
To note that :
- Two international players have won the last four MVP trophies, Nikola Jokić (Nuggets; Serbia; 2021-22 and 2020-21) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks; Greece; Nigeria links; 2019-20 and 2018-19).
- For the first time in NBA history, the TOP 3 for the 2021-22 MVP title included only international players: Jokić, Joël Embiid and Antetokounmpo.
- At least five international players have made the All-NBA team every season since 2018-19.
- As part of the General Managers’ poll, Luka Dončić (Mavericks; Slovenia), Antetokounmpo and Embiid were voted the No. 1, 2 and 3 players most likely to win the 2022-23 trophy (48%, 34% and 13% of votes). Antetokounmpo and Dončić were voted the #1 and #2 players GMs would most like to franchise with (55% and 45% of votes).
- There are 14 international players present at the season opener who have been NBA All-Stars: Antetokounmpo, Dončić, Goran Dragić (Bulls; Slovenia), Embiid, Rudy Gobert (Timberwolves; France), Al Horford (Celtics ; Dominican Republic), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets; Australia), Jokić, Kristaps Porzingis (Wizards; Latvia), Domantas Sabonis (Kings; Lithuania), Siakam, Ben Simmons (Nets; Australia), Nikola Vučević (Bulls; Montenegro) and Andrew Wiggins (Warriors; Canada).
Here are the French players under NBA contract. Note that the league considers Joël Embiid as Cameroonian while he also has French and American passports. It is the NBA that indicates the “other origins”.
French with NBA contract:
|Ousmane Dieng||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Evan Fournier||New York Knicks||Algerian|
|Rudy Gobert||Minesota Timbetwolves|
|Killian Hayes||Detroit Pistons|
|Frank Ntilikina||Dallas Mavericks||Belgium and Rwanda|
|Nicholas Batum||Los Angeles Clippers||Cameroon|
French with “two-way contract”:
|Olivier Sarr||Portland Trail Blazers||Algeria|
|Theo Maledon||Charlotte Hornets|
|Moussa Diabate||Los Angeles Clippers|
Photo: Rudy Gobert (FIBA)