The NBA has gotten slowly more international. A lot of the top talents in the league don't just come from America anymore and it is for good reason. Talented legends paved the way for them to thrive and created the blueprint. Gregg Popovich's San Antonio Spurs were also a team that believed in international stars. Tony Parker knew this the most. He posits that a certain Dallas Mavericks legend named Dirk Nowitzki might be the GOAT over Pau Gasol, via The Why with Dwyane Wade.

“My European GOAT is Dirk Nowitzki…then it’s very debatable with Pau because Pau won so much at the European level…  it’s debatable what you take into consideration…No disrespect to the older guys but when we all came to the league, that was the first time – with Dirk and Pau – you had NBA franchises starting to believe we can have a European player as our franchise player.” Tony Parker said.

The Spurs great was able to see both of these men succeed in his prime. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks shocked the world along with Parker when they won in 2011. Pau Gasol's Lakers were also huge contenders at this time. This meant that these three would constantly be in heated battles with one another. However, the Spurs' legendary guard disclosed why doesn't like Gasol that much.

“I sometimes wish Pau Gasol was not born. I would’ve won a lot more gold medals and a lot sooner,” he declared.

Parker then went back to discussing why Nowitzki was the better player for him. There was just something distinct about him in the Mavericks system that the Spurs great could not see in other guys.

“Dirk was the first one to do that. To be the franchise guy…Dirk paved that way for us as Europeans,” Parker concluded.

Does the Spurs legend make the right case?


Gasol was an insanely talented forward. He became the first Spanish individual to be an All-Star in 2006 and did not look back. Alongside Kobe Bryant, the Lakers won two straight championships with one another in 2009 and 2010. However, Nowitzki arguably has the most valuable ring and the most unexpected championship in the history of the league. He was a 14-time All-Star selection with 12 of those years having him in an All-NBA team.

Who's your European GOAT?