NBA features 108 non-US players, record 16 from Canada
New York (AFP)
The 2019-20 NBA season opens Tuesday with 108 international players from 38 nations, including 16 Canadians a record for the most players from any non-US nation, the league announced.
It is the sixth consecutive season the NBA has opened with more than 100 players from beyond US borders.
The league set records with 113 global players from 42 non-US nations to begin the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns.
Nine Australians, eight Frenchman, seven Croatians and six Serbians are the biggest groups from other nations on NBA opening night rosters.
Six Canadians were taken in June's NBA Draft, breaking the record of five French players in 2016.
Among NBA clubs, the Dallas Mavericks have an NBA-high seven international players. Philadelphia and Phoenix each have six. Memphis, Utah, San Antonio, Toronto, Oklahoma City, Sacramento and Washington all have five.
The NBA's 74th campaign begins with a record 30 players who took part in the league's Basketball Without Borders development program. They include Canadian R.J. Barrett of the New York Knicks, Spaniard Marc Gasol with reigning NBA champion Toronto and Cameroonian Joel Embiid with Philadelphia.
Last year's NBA award winners included Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who is Greek, the Most Valuable Player, Slovenian Luka Doncic of Dallas, the NBA Rookie of the Year, Cameroonian Pascal Siakam also of Toronto, the Most Improved Player for Toronto and Frenchman Rudy Gobert of Utah, the Defensive Player of the Year.
Atlanta's Bruno Fernando could become the first Angolan to play in an NBA game.
Washington's Rui Hachimura and Memphis' Yuta Watanabe could make history as the first two Japanese players to play in the NBA during the same season.
© 2019 AFP