The NBA has been growing exponentially in the global market in the past 20-30 years. The league has seen the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dirk Nowitzki, just to name a few, take the league by storm as foreign-born players.
In recent years, however, a new country has taken the league by storm in a variety of ways: Australia.
Australia currently has the second most players of any nation outside the US, with 9, behind only Canada who have 16. Ben Simmons, Andrew Bogut and Kyrie Irving are amongst the players born down under leaving their mark on the league.
However, it’s not just on the NBA court where Australia is taking over. 2020 draft prospects LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton took their talents down under to the NBL, Australia’s professional basketball league, as an NCAA equivalent before entering the NBA Draft, as a way to hone their skills, gain exposure, get professional experience, all while getting paid. We’ve also seen players such as Utah’s Joe Ingles and Indiana’s Brian Bowen II transition from the NBL into NBA roles.
International leagues have produced great players in the recent years, mainly Luka Doncic‘s NBA takeover following his MVP time in the Euroleague, and it seems that Australia is looking to put themselves on the map as a world leader in producing high quality, international NBA players.
So, from producing increasing numbers of great NBA talents to now being a platform to land on prior to the beginning of a young player’s NBA journey, Australia is making their mark on the sport of basketball in a variety of ways, and the nation’s future in the NBA and basketball community should be watched with great excitement, interest and anticipation.