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There was a time in basketball when being a GLOBETROTTER meant traveling from Harlem to Washington D.C to embarrass a team of actors called The Washington Generals. That wasn’t trotting the globe as much as taking a short bus ride, but the world has gotten bigger for basketball, and the NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION is now more of an INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION. The league has found that its product is played everywhere, and talented players are available outside of North Carolina.
Some of my friends in the BLOGOSPHERE aren’t as keen to the idea of importing tall, skinny men as the NBA is. Too often I read the opinion that the NBA has become infatuated with obscure foreign players at the expense of our own homegrown talent. That, I say, is just not true. The NBA game is made for (and by) American basketball players, but it must continue to allow talented international players to come and help sell the product. Some of the names on the jerseys may be more difficult to pronounce, but in the end, basketball is the winner of this globalization. Nobody is saying that Major League Baseball should reject players from the Dominican Republic, and neither should the NBA ignore players from Slovenia. The game is available to the best talent in the world now, and that is the way it will remain. Perhaps the problem is that the cynics are just ignorant to the background of these imports.
So, in an effort to bring peace and tolerance to the world of professional basketball, I have prepared a list of foreign-born NBA players that did not play high school or college basketball in the United States. I hope that this will educate the masses and help folks understand the new Globetrotters.
PLAYERS: CARLOS DELFINO - Toronto Raptors, MANU GINOBILI - San Antonio Spurs, ANDRES NOCIONI - Chicago Bulls, FABRICIO OBERTO - San Antonio Spurs, LUIS SCOLA - Houston Rockets. POPULATION: 38,740,807. LOCATION: Southern South America. GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Ginobili Bobble-head Dolls.
PLAYERS: LEANDRO BARBOSA - Phoenix Suns, NENE - Denver Nuggets, ANDERSON VAREJAO - Cleveland Cavaliers. POPULATION: 182,032,604. LOCATION: Eastern South America. GOVERNMENT: Federative republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Supermodels.
PLAYERS: YAO MING - Houston Rockets, YI JIANLIAN - Milwaukee Bucks. POPULATION: 1,286,975,468. LOCATION: Eastern Asia. GOVERNMENT: Communist State. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Chicken Chow Mein.
PLAYERS: DJ MBENGA - Los Angeles Lakers. POPULATION: 3,039,126. LOCATION: Western Africa. GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Michael Crichton books.
PLAYERS: GORDAN GIRICEK - Phoenix Suns, MARIO KASUN - Orlando Magic. POPULATION: 4,422,248. LOCATION: Southeastern Europe. GOVERNMENT: Presidential/parliamentary democracy. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Used Yugos.
PLAYERS: BORIS DIAW - Phoenix Suns, TONY PARKER - San Antonio Spurs, JOHAN PETRO - Seattle Supersonics, MICKAEL PIETRUS - Golden State Warriors, IAN MAHINMI - San Antonio Spurs. POPULATION: 60,180,529. LOCATION: Western Europe. GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Berets, Cheese, Smelly People.
GEORGIA, REPUBLIC OF
PLAYERS: ZAZA PACHULIA - Atlanta Hawks. POPULATION: 5,726,000. LOCATION: Southwestern Asia. GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Difficult to pronounce names.
PLAYERS: DIRK NOWITZKI - Dallas Mavericks. POPULATION: 82,398,326. LOCATION: Central Europe. GOVERNMENT: Federal republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Cars for Rich Douchebags.
PLAYERS: ANDREA BARGNANI - Toronto Raptors, MARCO BELINELLI - Golden State Warriors. POPULATION: 58,147,733. LOCATION: Southern Europe. GOVERNMENT: Bicameral Parliament. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Offers You Can’t Refuse.
PLAYERS: ANDRIS BIEDRINS - Golden State Warriors POPULATION: 2,348,784. LOCATION: Eastern Europe.GOVERNMENT: Parliamentary Democracy. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: T-shirts that say - “We’re not Russians!”
PLAYERS: MARTYNAS ANDRIUSKEVICIUS - Cleveland Cavaliers, ZYDRUNAS ILGAUSKAS - Cleveland Cavaliers. POPULATION: 3,592,561. LOCATION: Eastern Europe. GOVERNMENT: Parliamentary Democracy. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Nike “Air Ilgauskas” Sneakers.
PLAYERS: MARCIN GORTAT - Orlando Magic. POPULATION: 38,622,660. LOCATION: Central Europe.GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Self-deprecating Jokes.
PLAYERS: ANDREI KIRILENKO - Utah Jazz, YAROSLAV KOROLEV - LA Clippers. POPULATION: 144,526,278. LOCATION: Northern Asia. GOVERNMENT: Federation. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: James Bond Enemies.
PLAYERS: CHEIKH SAMB - Detroit Pistons, MOUHAMED SENE - Seattle Supersonics. POPULATION: 12,521,851. LOCATION: Western Africa. GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: French-speaking Black Dudes not married to Eva Longoria.
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO
PLAYERS: MARKO JARIC - Minnesota Timberwolves, NENAD KRSTIC - New Jersey Nets, DARKO MILICIC - Memphis Grizzlies, ALEKSANDAR PAVLOVIC - Cleveland Cavaliers, KOSTA PEROVIC - Golden State Warriors, VLADIMIR RADMANOVIC - Seattle Supersonics, PEJA STOJAKOVIC - New Orleans Hornets. POPULATION: 10,655,774. LOCATION: Southeastern Europe. GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Facial hair.
PLAYERS: PRIMOZ BREZEC - Toronto Raptors, BOSTJAN NACHBAR - New Jersey Nets, RASHO NESTEROVIC - Toronto Raptors, BENO UDRIH - Sacramento Kings, SASHA VUJACIC - Los Angeles Lakers. POPULATION: 1,935,677. LOCATION: Central Europe. GOVERNMENT: Parliamentary Democratic Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: T-shirts that say – “If this Parliamentary Democratic Republic is Rockin’, don’t come Knockin’”
PLAYERS: HA SEUNG-JIN - Portland Trailblazers. POPULATION:48,289,037. LOCATION: Eastern Asia. GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Fuel for Margaret Cho jokes.
PLAYERS: JOSE CALDERON - Toronto Raptors, PAU GASOL - Los Angeles Lakers, JUAN CARLOS NAVARRO - Memphis Grizzlies, SERGIO RODRIGUEZ - Portland Trailblazers, JORGE GARBAJOSA - Toronto Raptors. POPULATION: 40,217,413. LOCATION: Southwestern Europe. GOVERNMENT: Parliamentary Monarchy. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Hating America.
PLAYERS: THABO SEFALOSHA - Chicago Bulls. POPULATION: 7,554,661. LOCATION: Western Europe. GOVERNMENT: Federal Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: The Best Knives in the World.
PLAYERS: ERSAN ILYASOVA - Milwaukee Bucks, MEHMET OKUR - Utah Jazz, HEDO TURKOGLU - Orlando Magic. POPULATION: 68,109,469. LOCATION: Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. GOVERNMENT: Republican Parliamentary Democracy. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Strangely, it’s not turkeys.
PLAYERS: KYRYLO FESENKO - Utah Jazz, OLEKSEY PECHEROV - Washington Wizards. POPULATION: 48,055,439. LOCATION: Eastern Europe. GOVERNMENT: Republic. GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: Frozen nipples.