The National Basketball Association is the men’s professional basketball league in North America, though it is based in America, it searches and recruits talents from around the world, a significant population of the players in the NBA has an African origin, thanks to those Africans who also showed interest in the game. Initially the game was thought to be an American thing, but of a truth the love for basketball has continued to grow in different parts of the African continent to the extent that different African countries are forming their own basketball teams and are actually doing well in competitions. Today, most of the African basketball stars that have found their way into the NBA have continued to prove they are not just good but very good at the game. Here is a list of the best African Basketball stars in the NBA.
1. Bismack Biyombo
Born in August 28, 1992, Bismack Biyombo hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was first spotted and picked by the Scramento Kings in 2011, from the Scramento Kings he moved to the Charlotte Bobcats on December 19 of the same year. He has also been ranked as one of the highest paid African players in the NBA with a very bright future, he is one of the top blockers in the team.
2. Luol Den
Born on April 16, 1985 in Wau, Sudan now called South Sudan. Luol Deng grew up in England where he attended high school at Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey. As a member of the Chicago Bulls from 2004 until 2014, Deng was selected for his first NBA All-Star game during the 2011–12 season, joining teammate Derrick Rose. He went to Duke University for one season only and then joined the Chicago Bulls. He has averaged 16.0 points per game so far in his career during the regular season, and 17.8 points per game in 25 playoff games.
3. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1963, he has played for 18 years in the NBA. He was one of the top centres to ever play the game. Hakeem was not into basketball until he came to United States. Having won double NBA Championships, Hakeem was named NBA Finals MVP both times in 1994 and 1995. He was NBA Defensive Player of the Year in both 1993 and 1994, he was also a 12 time all-star. Hakeem Olajuwon was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. After his exit, he has left behind a vacuum that has not actually been filled.
4. Hasheem Thabeet
Born on 16 February 1987, Hasheem hails from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, he is currently playing professional basketball for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA. He started playing basketball at the age of 15. He is also ranked among the highest paid African players in the NBA. While playing for the Connecticut Huskies, he was seen as the tallest player ever in the team.
5. Steve Nash
Born on 7 February 1974, In Johannesburg, South Africa. He grew up in British Columbia, Canada. Steve plays as point guard and has just completed his 15th NBA season with a career scoring average of 14.6 points per game, to go along with 8.5 assists per game. Nash is a two-time NBA MVP and has led the league five times in total assists and assists per game, including in 2010-11. Nash has been honored for his contributions to various philanthropic causes. In 2006, he was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He also received the Order of Canada in 2007 and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Victoria in 2008. Nash is a co-owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC professional soccer team.