The NBA’s All-Time, Old School European Squad: Arvydas Sabonis, Vlade Divac, Tony Kukoc, Sarunas Marciulionis, & Drazen Petrovic
But before Nowitzki, Parker, and the modern-day Raptors, an original wave of ‘Euros’ came to the NBA. They were laughed at. They were mocked. And they were seen as inferior. But these pioneers deserve credit for furthering the league’s global reach and creating a climate where today’s ‘Euros’ can compete for the NBA’s greatest individual and team honors …
The NBA is loaded with European talent. German forward Dirk Nowitzki captured the 2006-07 regular season MVP, while France’s Tony Parker won the playoff MVP for his work against
Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors underwent a ‘Euro’ makeover, adding a player from what seemed like every semi-autonomous region in
But before Nowitzki, Parker, and the modern-day Raptors, an original wave of ‘Euros’ came to the NBA. They were laughed at. They were mocked. And they were seen as inferior.
But these pioneers deserve credit for furthering the league’s global reach and creating a climate where today’s ‘Euros’ can compete for the NBA’s greatest individual and team honors.
HoopsVibe The Blog decided to show love and name an old school Euro squad. Of course, read the post, form an opinion, and hit us up with your own vintage Euro.
Why: Forget the image of hot-head Rasheed Wallace lassoing him with a towel. And forget the image of Shaquille O’Neal poster-jobbing him in every Portland-L.A. playoff series.
Sabonis was the star of the
Soviet Union’s 1988 gold medal team. He manned up against a young David Robinson and then dominated the European leagues before arriving in the NBA.
, he was playing on two bad knees, but still won rookie of the year and was easily a top ten center. Portland
Why: He flopped on defense. He chain-smoked cigarettes at half-time. He dropped epic dimes. And he engaged us with his over-the-top antics.
Marlboros aside, Divac had a very respectable NBA run. He started as Magic’s apprentice in
, took a brief detour in L.A. , clicked with White Chocolate and C-Webb in Charlotte , and then finished up with the Lakers. Sacramento
Forward: Tony Kukoc, Croatia (Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, & Milwaukee Bucks, 1993-2005).
Why: For a while, Michael Jordan refused to talk to Kukoc because he didn’t “speak no Yugoslavian”. But The Waiter won over his teammates by finding the open man and hitting clutch shots.The smooth Croatian was a big part of those great
teams, winning the sixth man of the year award. Chicago
Why: Other Euros were better than Marciulionis, but the muscular two-guard was impossible to stop going left. Charles Barkley claimed he was the only NBA-er to foul you on every play when he was on offense.
Why: Petrovic’s career was cut short due to a tragic car accident. Words can’t express his greatness, so check out TNT’s retrospective.
Agree or disagree? Get at us in the comment box below with your favorite ‘Euro’. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.