Who are the best British NBA Players of All-Time?

Ruben Hill
June 12, 2019

Author: Alex Dudley

The 2019 instalment of the NBA is reaching its closing stages, and unbeknown to most, there could be a brand-new British NBA champion. OG Anunoby was born in London before moving to the USA, and he will be bidding to win a first franchise championship for the Toronto Raptors as they look to clinch the series over the Golden State Warriors.

While, he is by no means the first, or hopefully the last British player to play at the pinnacle of the NBA; but basketball is a sport whose popularity has failed to ignite the interest of other North American sports like American Football and Baseball.

The prior mentioned is especially popular due to people looking for the best NFL bets and have sold out fixtures throughout the year. While the tickets for the MLB series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox later this month were sold out in less than an hour.

British NBA stars are few and far between, which has made the sport harder to fall in love with. However, while Anunoby is at the beginning of his career with the Raptors, there have been some success stories in the past.

Ben Gordon

The Chicago Bulls are known mainly for one player- Michael Jordan. However, during the early 2000s, the Bulls were in the playoffs more than most, and the reason for that was the fine young crop of talent that they had. At the figurehead of that was two British stars, but the most important of them was Ben Gordon.

Gordon moved to New York from London at an early age, before going on to get a scholarship in basketball at the University of Connecticut. Here, he arrived on the main stage and won the National Championship, before being a first-round pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

During his prime, he was a high-points scorer for the Bulls, and his acrobatics were second to none. The game that always sticks out was when he scored 43 points against the Boston Celtics in a 2009 regular season match. However, his career slowly ended, and injuries played their part.

He averaged just 20 points per game between 2007 and 2009 before being traded to the Detroit Pistons, where he was primarily used as a back-up option. He retired from the game in 2015.

Luol Deng

The back-story to Deng is fascinating. He escaped the conflict in Sudan by migrating to Egypt, before being granted asylum in the United Kingdom. However, his love for basketball meant that he left his family behind to achieve his dreams of becoming an NBA star. He played for the Duke Blue Devils at college level, before being a seventh-round draft pick in the 2004 draft by the Phoenix Suns.

The trade wasn't by choice; it was a trade on behalf of the Bulls where he was immediately traded back. Injuries marred his first season in the NBA; however, the following campaign saw Deng average an impressive 14.3 points per game; which helped the Bulls book a consecutive spot in the playoffs.

Throughout his career, he averaged 15 points per game and has twice been selected as an All-Star. He has always been an admired player in his team and has continuously played his part in the success of the franchise. He enjoyed a stint at the Los Angeles Lakers, before moving onto the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he is currently playing.

Michael Olowokandi

The best years of his career were during his stint with the Los Angeles Clippers. He was drafted to the Clippers as a number one draft pick in 1998, and he was the embodiment of speed, strength and power.

Olowokandi was born in Nigeria, but his father's political ventures took the family to London, where he attended university. It is a very rare case with Olowokandi where he was given a choice between choosing a career in basketball or cricket.

During his five years in the NBA, he averaged ten points per game and started in 310 fixtures. His best moment in the NBA came when the Clippers faced the Bulls. He scored 30 points in the game, but there was a sense of what could have been when he retired from the sport in 2007 having played for three teams over ten seasons.


Other reports by Click Lancashire

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