Surprisingly, even Australia has had quite a few really good NBA players. Since the 1970s, Australians have quietly become a hotbed of basketball. The Australians never got a medal at the Olympics, so they failed to reach the same level as the United States or some European countries. On the other hand, they sent more than a few top players to the NBA.
At the very least, there have been enough Australian players in the NBA that it is worth debating who are the best Australian basketball players in the NBA.
Who Have Been The Top Basketball Players From Australia
Kyrie Andrew Irving, born in Melbourne is an American professional basketball player for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He holds dual citizenship; American and Australian. He was named Rookie of the Year after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2011 NBA Draft. He has won an NBA championship with the Cavaliers in 2016 while being the Seven-Time All-Star and Three-Time All-NBA member.
In 2011, before joining the Cavaliers, Irving played college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils. He won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 2014 All-Star Game. On the other hand, he has also played for the United States with whom he won the gold at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.
In 2020, he was elected as the vice-president of the National Basketball Player Association. He replaced Pau Gasol. Outside Basketball Championship, he starred in Kickin’ It (2012) and did a voiceover in We Bare Bears (2016) and Family Guy (2018).
Lucien James Longley is a former Australian basketball player and coach. He was the first Australian basketball player to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). In NBA, over 10 seasons, he played for four teams. Longley has played primarily played for Chicago Bulls and won three championships from 1996 to 1998. He represented Australia as a player at the Olympics such 1988, 1992, and 2000. Also, he worked as an assistant coach for the Australian Basketball Team.
Longley began his career in Australia in 1986, for the Perth Wildcats of the National Basketball League (NBA) with a brief stint playing. He played in college for the New Mexico Lobos and was selected seventh overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1991 NBA Draft. He played three seasons of intermission with the Timberwolves. In 1994, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls. There he became the starting center for the Bulls during the 1995-96 seasons.
Longley was a big part of the team’s success and remained in the Bulls’ starting lineup during their Championship trophy. After the Bulls passed away after their 1998 championship win, he had brief stints with the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
Lauren Elizabeth Jackson is a former Australian basketball player. She is the daughter of two players on the national basketball team; Gary Jackson and Maree Bennie. At the age of 16, Lauren Jackson received an Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) scholarship in 1997. The AIS team was led by her and they won the National Women’s Basketball League (WNBL) championship.
When she turned 18, she joined Canberra Capital for the 1999 season and played with the team until 2006. As a result, she won four more WNBL Championships. From 2010 to 2016, Jackson played for the Canberra Capitals which she did during the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) offseason.
Lauren Jackson entered the Australian Under-20 Team at the age of 14 and was called up to the Australian Women’s National Basketball Team at the age of 16. On the other hand, she was a member of the 2000 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics teams. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, she was the captain of the team and won three silver medals.
In addition to her basketball career, Jackson has been an advocate for racism and women’s rights. Lauren Jackson was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020.
Benjamin David Simmons is an Australian professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is the son of an American-born father, Dave, who played basketball at the professional level in Australia. Simmons is having dual Australian and American citizenship, who played for the Australian national team. For one season, he played college basketball with the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers.
Later on, he was named a member of the Consensus All-American First Team and USBWA National Rookie of the Year. In 2016, Simmons was selected with the first overall pick in NBA Draft by the 76ers. Due to a right foot injury, he has been out for a year, in 2018, he got named NBA Rookie of the Year. In 2019, 2020, and 2021, he was selected as an NBA All-Star.
Before moving to the United States to attend Montverde Academy in Montverde, Florida, he attended the Box Hill Senior Secondary College, Melbourne, Victoria. During his college season, LSU started the season with high expectations. Sadly, they failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Simmons dropped out of the school to make the NBA Draft and became the third, after Andrew Bogut and Kyrie Irving, Melbourne-born No.1 overall pick.
Andrew Michael Bogut is a former Australian basketball player. He spent most of his professional career playing for National Basketball Association (NBA). The 7 ft tall Bogut was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks as the center with the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He has won All-NBA Third Team honors with the Bucks in 2010. In 2012, he was traded to the Golden State Warriors.
The team was named NBA’s Second Defensive Team in 2015 when Bogut won an NBA championship with the warriors. He played college basketball for two years with the Utah Utes. He won the National Player of the Year award in 2005. He declared himself for the NBA Draft and became the no.1 pick of the Australian basketball player.
In his first year with Bucks, Bogut got the name of NBA’s rookie first team in 2006. In 2010, he won all-league honors after averaging a career-high 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Bogut has been described as one of the main faces in Australian basketball. Also, he has been recognized for being the cornerstone of the Australian national team. He opened the way for a whole new generation of Australians.
Best Australian Basketball Players – NBA Drafted Players
Other than the above-mentioned Australian players of basketball, David Andersen, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Mathew Nielsen, and Aleks Maric paved their way through college basketball teams. Some best players dropped out of college to NBA Draft their name in the professional teams. As a result, they got their names enrolled in professional NBA teams such as Brooklyn Nets, Perth Wildcats, Philadelphia 76ers, etc.
Lauren Jackson is known as the best Australian Basketball player. In addition to her basketball career, she worked on women’s rights and racism. Also, she advocated for women’s rights and set an example of women’s empowerment.