NBA announces 108 international players from record-tying 42 countries, territories on opening-night rosters
With the NBA fully embracing diversity in its fold, the league has announced that opening-night rosters will feature 108 international players across a record-tying 42 countries.
The league issued this statement through its official NBA Communications website. It also mentions that the 2018-19 season will be the fifth consecutive year that more than 100 international players are inked on opening night.
Here’s a more specific breakdown of this historic season for the league’s international players.
The most-represented countries among the 108 international players on opening-night rosters are Canada (11 players), Australia (record nine players), France (nine players), Spain (seven players) and Germany (record six players), followed by Croatia, Serbia and Turkey (five players each). Opening-night rosters also feature a record 65 European players.
The Dallas Mavericks have an NBA-high seven international players. The Utah Jazz and LA Clippers each have six. The Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and San Antonio Spurs field five each.
Additionally, this season will set a record for the number of Basketball Without Borders campers who will play this week. The BWB is an annual outreach program that has the mission to promote basketball and social awareness to young hoopers across the world.
A record 26 former Basketball Without Borders (BWB) campers are on opening-night rosters, including Joel Embiid (76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011), Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets; Canada; BWB Global 2015), Dario Saric (76ers; Croatia; BWB Europe 2010) and Ayton (BWB Global 2016).
The 1st overall pick of this year’s draft is Bahamas’ DeAndre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns, another international player who will play his first NBA game against Dallas Mavericks’ prized rookie Luka Doncic of Ukrania.