NBA

NBA opening night rosters feature 109 international players from 39 countries

NEW YORK, Oct. 19, 2021 - The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that 109 international players from 39 countries are on opening-night rosters for its landmark 75th Anniversary Season, including a record number of players from Canada (18), Germany (seven) and the Bahamas (three), and a record-tying number of players from Nigeria (five). The Toronto Raptors lead the league with a record-tying 10 international players from a record nine countries on opening-night rosters.

The 2021-22 season tipping off tonight marks the eighth consecutive season that opening-night rosters feature at least 100 international players. The number of international players in the NBA has grown from five in the league's first season in 1946-47 to a record 113 at the start of the 2016-17 season.

For the eighth consecutive year, Canada is the most-represented country outside of the U.S., followed by Australia, France and Germany (seven players each). Nigeria, Serbia, Spain and Turkey each have five players.

The Raptors lead the league with 10 international players, followed by the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder with seven international players each. The Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans each have five.

A record 35 players on opening-night rosters participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) prior to their NBA careers, including Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011), Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns; Bahamas; BWB Global 2016), Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards; Japan; BWB Global 2016) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012). BWB is the NBA and FIBA's global basketball development and community outreach program that has seen 90 former campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents since 2001.

In addition to the 109 international players on 2021-22 opening-night rosters, there are a record 12 international players from seven countries on "two-way" contracts, including six players who participated in BWB. There are also a number of American players with ties to other countries, including more than 30 players with at least one parent from an African country. Among the American players with ties to other countries are Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat; ties to Nigeria), Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz; ties to the Philippines), Matisse Thybulle (76ers; ties to Australia and Haiti), Juan Toscano-Anderson (Golden State Warriors; ties to Mexico), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves; ties to the Dominican Republic) and Kemba Walker (New York Knicks; ties to Antigua).

The 2021-22 NBA season tips off tonight with a doubleheader on TNT as part of Kia NBA Tip-Off 2021. In the opening game, the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks hosts the Brooklyn Nets at 7:30 p.m. ET. In the second game, the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Warriors at 10 p.m. ET.

Below please find international player milestones and storylines for the upcoming season:

  • A record-tying six international players were named to the 2020-21 All-NBA Team: 2021 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks; Greece; ties to Nigeria; All-NBA First Team); Luka Dončić (Mavericks; Slovenia; All-NBA First Team); 2020-21 Kia NBA MVP Nikola Jokić (Nuggets; Serbia; All-NBA First Team); Embiid (All-NBA Second Team); Rudy Gobert (Jazz; France; All-NBA Third Team); and Kyrie Irving (Nets; Australia; All-NBA Third Team).
  • As part of the NBA.com 2021-22 GM Survey, Dončić and Antetokounmpo were voted the No. 1 and No. 2 players with whom general managers would most want to start a franchise (43% and 40%, respectively), and the No. 2 and No. 3 players most likely to win the 2021-22 Kia NBA MVP Award (33% and 13% of votes, respectively).
  • Josh Giddey (Thunder; Australia) is poised to become the first NBA Academy graduate to play in the NBA when Oklahoma City visits Utah tomorrow, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. ET on NBA League Pass. Giddey became the first NBA Academy graduate to be drafted into the NBA when he was selected sixth overall by the Thunder in the 2021 NBA Draft.
  • There are 13 international players on opening-night rosters who have been NBA All-Stars: Antetokounmpo, Dončić, Goran Dragić (Raptors; Slovenia), Embiid, Al Horford (Boston Celtics; Dominican Republic), Gobert, Irving, Jokić, Kristaps Porzingis (Mavericks; Latvia), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers; Lithuania), Siakam, Ben Simmons (76ers; Australia) and Nikola Vučević (Chicago Bulls; Montenegro).
  • Neemias Queta (two-way player for the Sacramento Kings) is poised to become the first player from Portugal to play in the NBA.
  • A record 10 former BWB campers were selected in the 2021 NBA Draft, surpassing the previous record of eight set in 2019.

Below please find the full list of international players on 2021-22 opening-night rosters (active and inactive):

International players on 2021-22 NBA Opening Night rosters
Country Name NBA Team Ties
Angola Bruno Fernando Boston Celtics
Argentina Facundo Campazzo* Denver Nuggets
Argentina Gabriel Deck* Oklahoma City Thunder
Argentina Leandro Bolmaro* Minnesota Timberwolves
Australia Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers
Australia Jock Landale San Antonio Spurs
Australia Joe Ingles Utah Jazz
Australia Josh Giddey* Oklahoma City Thunder
Australia Josh Green* Dallas Mavericks
Australia Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets
Australia Patty Mills Brooklyn Nets
Austria Jakob Poeltl San Antonio Spurs
Bahamas Buddy Hield Sacramento Kings
Bahamas Kai Jones* Charlotte Hornets
Bahamas Deandre Ayton* Phoenix Suns Ties to Nigeria
Bosnia and Herzegovina Jusuf Nurkić Portland Trail Blazers
Brazil Didi Louzada New Orleans Pelicans
Brazil Raul Neto Washington Wizards
Cameroon Joel Embiid* Philadelphia 76ers
Cameroon Pascal Siakam* Toronto Raptors
Canada Andrew Wiggins Golden State Warriors
Canada Brandon Clarke Memphis Grizzlies
Canada Cory Joseph Detroit Pistons Ties to Trinidad and Tobago
Canada Dalano Banton Toronto Raptors
Canada Dillon Brooks Memphis Grizzlies
Canada Dwight Powell Dallas Mavericks
Canada Jamal Murray* Denver Nuggets
Canada Josh Primo* San Antonio Spurs
Canada Kelly Olynyk* Detroit Pistons
Canada Kevin Pangos Cleveland Cavaliers
Canada Khem Birch Toronto Raptors
Canada Luguentz Dort* Oklahoma City Thunder
Canada Nickeil Alexander-Walker New Orleans Pelicans
Canada Oshae Brissett Indiana Pacers
Canada RJ Barrett* New York Knicks
Canada Trey Lyles Detroit Pistons
Canada Tristan Thompson Sacramento Kings Ties to Jamaica
Canada Shai Gilgeous-Alexander* Oklahoma City Thunder
Croatia Bojan Bogdanović Utah Jazz
Croatia Dario Šarić* Phoenix Suns
Croatia Ivica Zubac LA Clippers
Czech Republic Tomáš Satoranský* New Orleans Pelicans
Czech Republic Vít Krejčí* Oklahoma City Thunder
Democratic Republic of the Congo Jonathan Kuminga Golden State Warriors
Dominican Republic Al Horford Boston Celtics
Dominican Republic Chris Duarte Indiana Pacers Ties to Canada
Egypt Abdel Nader Phoenix Suns
Finland Lauri Markkanen* Cleveland Cavaliers
France Evan Fournier New York Knicks Ties to Algeria
France Frank Ntilikina* Dallas Mavericks Ties to Belgium and Rwanda
France Killian Hayes* Detroit Pistons
France Nicolas Batum* LA Clippers Ties to Cameroon
France Rudy Gobert Utah Jazz
France Théo Maledon Oklahoma City Thunder
France Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot Atlanta Hawks Ties to Democratic Republic of the Congo
Georgia Goga Bitadze* Indiana Pacers
Germany Daniel Theis Houston Rockets
Germany Dennis Schröder Boston Celtics Ties to The Gambia
Germany Isaac Bonga* Toronto Raptors
Germany Isaiah Hartenstein* LA Clippers
Germany Maxi Kleber Dallas Mavericks
Germany Franz Wagner Orlando Magic
Germany Moritz Wagner Orlando Magic
Greece Georgios Kalaitzakis Milwaukee Bucks
Greece Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks Ties to Nigeria
Greece Thanasis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks Ties to Nigeria
Israel Deni Avdija* Washington Wizards
Italy Danilo Gallinari* Atlanta Hawks
Jamaica Nick Richards Charlotte Hornets
Japan Rui Hachimura* Washington Wizards Ties to Benin
Japan Yuta Watanabe Toronto Raptors
Latvia Davis Bertans Washington Wizards
Latvia Kristaps Porziņģis Dallas Mavericks
Lithuania Domantas Sabonis Indiana Pacers
Lithuania Jonas Valančiūnas* New Orleans Pelicans
Montenegro Marko Simonović Chicago Bulls
Montenegro Nikola Vučević Chicago Bulls
New Zealand Steven Adams Memphis Grizzlies
Nigeria Charles Bassey* Philadelphia 76ers
Nigeria Josh Okogie Minnesota Timberwolves
Nigeria Precious Achiuwa Toronto Raptors
Nigeria Udoka Azubuike Utah Jazz
Nigeria Chimezie Metu Sacramento Kings
Republic of the Congo Serge Ibaka LA Clippers Ties to Spain
Senegal Gorgui Dieng* Atlanta Hawks
Serbia Aleksej Pokuševski* Oklahoma City Thunder
Serbia Boban Marjanović Dallas Mavericks
Serbia Bogdan Bogdanović Atlanta Hawks
Serbia Nemanja Bjelica Golden State Warriors
Serbia Nikola Jokić Denver Nuggets
Slovenia Goran Dragić Toronto Raptors
Slovenia Vlatko Čančar Denver Nuggets
Slovenia Luka Dončić Dallas Mavericks
Spain Juancho Hernangómez Boston Celtics
Spain Ricky Rubio Cleveland Cavaliers
Spain Santi Aldama* Memphis Grizzlies
Spain Usman Garuba Houston Rockets Ties to Nigeria
Spain Willy Hernangómez* New Orleans Pelicans
St. Lucia Chris Boucher Toronto Raptors Ties to Canada
Sudan Bol Bol Denver Nuggets
Switzerland Clint Capela Atlanta Hawks Ties to Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo
Turkey Alperen Sengun Houston Rockets
Turkey Cedi Osman Cleveland Cavaliers
Turkey Enes Kanter* Boston Celtics
Turkey Furkan Korkmaz Philadelphia 76ers
Turkey Omer Yurtseven Miami Heat
Ukraine Alex Len Sacramento Kings
Ukraine Svi Mykhailiuk Toronto Raptors
United Kingdom OG Anunoby Toronto Raptors Ties to Nigeria

Below please find the full list of international two-way players:

Country Name Team Ties
Canada Eugene Omoruyi Dallas Mavericks Ties to Nigeria
Canada Ignas Brazdeikis* Orlando Magic Ties to Lithuania
Croatia Luka Šamanić* New York Knicks
France Petr Cornelie Denver Nuggets
France Sekou Doumbouya* Los Angeles Lakers Ties to Guinea
France Killian Tillie Memphis Grizzlies
France Yves Pons Memphis Grizzlies Ties to Haiti
France Joel Ayayi* Washington Wizards
Georgia Sandro Mamukelashvili* Milwaukee Bucks
Lithuania Arnoldas Kulboka* Charlotte Hornets
Portugal Neemias Queta Sacramento Kings
Senegal Tacko Fall Cleveland Cavaliers

*Participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA's global basketball development and community outreach program

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