Hello there, basketball fans! Today, we decided we would give you a statistics and history lesson in English. Wait! Do not dare close this window! What we mean by statistics is talking about numbers that great NBA players have achieved, and we also include history because some of them have already retired.
NBA is the top league all basketball players want to achieve during their career. Thanks to this, we have enjoyed what many of them had to offer in a professional and highly competitive league. Today we will focus on Latin American players. Yes, those that were not born in countries that had basketball as one of their major sports, and still succeeded in getting to the best league in the world. So, grab a snack and drink, and enjoy learning about the top 5 Latin American Players in NBA.
Born on September 28th, 1982, Anderson Varejao has been one of Brazil’s most important representatives in the last decade. Having achieved 5 medals in international competitions with his national team, he spent most of his career playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers after becoming a star player in his local league.
Varejao played for 12 years for the Cavaliers and then got transferred to the Golden State Warriors in 2016, where he stayed for a year. After that, he went back to Brazil and played for Flamengo until 2019. He is now back on the Cavaliers roster.
During his first time playing for Cleveland, his team made it to the 2007 final against the Spurs. However, an injury kept him out of the game, and the Brazilian pivot was not able to show his skills on the court.
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Greivis Vásquez was born on January 16th, 1987 in Caracas, Venezuela. His creative playing style took him to Memphis Grizzlies in 2010, where he stayed for a year. He was then transferred to the Hornets, Kings, Raptors, Bucks, and finally to the Brooklyn Nets, where he retired as a player.
Vásquez decided to continue in the basketball industry as a coach. From 2019 until the present day, he has been Associate Head Coach for the Erie BayHawks.
Among his biggest achievements as a player, Vásquez was chosen ACC Player of the Year in 2010. Having quite a unique style, he starred in many good moves during his playing days.
Eduardo Najera was born in Ciudad Meoqui, Mexico on July 11th, 1976. He was one of the four top Mexican players to get to the NBA and had an outstanding performance compared to them. He had over three times the appearances of the others combined.
After playing for 12 years in different NBA teams, he decided to become a coach. In this role, he was in front of Texas Legends team for 3 years.
During his college basketball years, he achieved several distinctions. Among the most important ones, he was given the Chip Hilton Player of the Year award in the year 2000.
José Juan Barea Mora, also known as J. J. Barea, was born on June 26th, 1984 in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. During his first time as a Mavericks player, he won an NBA Championship in 2011. During an interview, his teammate Tyson Chandler stated: “He’s been our big warrior throughout the entire season…”.
After retirement, he continued in the basketball world as a coach. Going back to his roots, he took charge of the Indios de Mayagüez team, back in his homeland.
Apart from his 2011 championship with the Mavs, he was also awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2018. This recognition is given to NBA players, coaches, or staff who show an “outstanding service and dedication to the community”.
Emanuel David “Manu” Ginobili was born on July 28th, 1977 in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. After seven years playing in his national basketball league, he was transferred to San Antonio Spurs, where he played for the rest of his career. 16 years with the Spurs took him to retirement, after having the main role in most – if not all – of their titles.
During his NBA years, he became one of the most outstanding players. Coming from a country where basketball is not a priority sport, he managed to get MVP awards, and take his own national team to win the 2002 FIBA World Championship silver medal, and 2004 gold medal in Athens Olympic Games.
Ginobili won 4 NBA championships with the Spurs. He also achieved the NBA All-Star team award in 2005 and 2011. Despite his retirement in 2018, he will always be remembered as a basketball icon, both for San Antonio’s fans, and the Argentine National Basketball team.