The 21st century has been a golden age for European basketball. The game has grown in popularity across the continent, with some of the best players in the world hailing from countries like Spain, Lithuania, and Serbia. There have been countless great players, but here are the ten best European basketball players of the 21st century.
1. Pau Gasol
The Spanish big man was one of the most dominant players of his generation. He was the first player from Europe to be selected first overall in the NBA Draft, and he was a six-time All-Star. He won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and earned all-defensive honors three times.
2. Dirk Nowitzki
The German legend is one of the greatest players in NBA history. He was the first European player to win an NBA championship, and he was also named MVP of the 2011 NBA Finals. He was an 11-time All-Star and his signature one-legged fadeaway jump shot became one of the most iconic shots of the 21st century.
3. Tony Parker
The French point guard was one of the most successful European players in the NBA. He was a six-time All-Star and was named Finals MVP in 2007. He won four championships with the San Antonio Spurs and was one of the most important players on the team.
4. Drazen Petrovic
The late Croatian star is considered one of the best European players of all time. He was a three-time All-Star and was the first European player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He tragically died in a car accident in 1993, but his legacy lives on.
5. Andrei Kirilenko
The Russian forward was one of the most versatile players in the NBA. He was a two-time All-Star and was named to the All-Defensive Team three times. He was a key member of the Utah Jazz team that reached the 2007 Western Conference Finals.
6. Pau Ribas
The Spanish guard was one of the best players in Europe in the early 2000s. He won the EuroLeague MVP award in 2006, and he was also a two-time All-EuroLeague selection. He was a key member of the Spanish national team that won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics.
7. Marc Gasol
The younger Gasol brother was one of the most important pieces of the Spanish national team. He was a two-time All-Star and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He won a championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019 and was a key piece of the team’s run to the title. Do you
8. Manu Ginobili
The Argentine star was one of the key players in the history of the San Antonio Spurs. He was a four-time NBA champion and was named Sixth Man of the Year in 2008. He was a two-time All-Star and was one of the most popular players in the league.
9. Andrei Kirilenko
The Russian forward was one of the most dominant players in Europe during the early 2000s. He was a two-time All-EuroLeague selection and was also named EuroLeague MVP in 2003. He was a key member of the Russian national team that won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics.
10. Erazem Lorbek
The Slovenian big man was one of the most successful players in Europe during the mid-2000s. He was a two-time All-EuroLeague selection and was named EuroLeague MVP in 2007. He was a key member of the Slovenian national team that won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics.
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Our century is, so far, an amazing era for European basketball. These ten players have had tremendous success in Europe and the NBA, and they have helped raise the profile of the game around the world. They will go down in history as some of the best European basketball players of all time.