Saturday, June 22, 2024

Top 10 biggest moves from NBA to Europe

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By Eurohoops team /

Monaco made a big move by adding four-time NBA All-Star Kemba Walker to its ranks. It’s definitely a signing that shook European basketball, as one of the most prominent players in Charlotte Hornets history decided to move his talents to the EuroLeague after 12 years in the NBA.

Fans in Monaco and all over Europe are itching to see him in action, as it’s certain he can make a big contribution, despite a drop in his career during previous years, caused mainly by knee issues.

Without a doubt, the 33-year-old point guard joins the list of the biggest NBA names to cross the Atlantic, along with the greats like Dominique Wilkins, Bob McAdoo, George Gervin, Allen Iverson…

Here’s the list of the ten biggest players that made the jump from the NBA to Europe.

Kemba Walker

A former UConn player and NCAA champion, Walker was selected as the 9th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats. He spent eight years with the Bobcats/Hornets, setting franchise records in points scored (12,009) and minutes played (20,607).

Walker then moved on to Boston, where he spent two seasons with the Celtics before joining the New York Knicks for a year. He boasts 750 regular-season games and averages 19.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds. Additionally, he has made 31 playoff appearances, averaging 19.6 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.8 rebounds during those games.

The 33-year-old guard is a four-time NBA All-Star. He received All-NBA Third Team honors in 2019 and scored 14.486 points overall.

Dominique Wilkins

Former 3rd overall Draft pick, nine-time NBA All-Star, and an NBA scoring champion from 1986, Dominique Wilkins moved to Panathinaikos in 1995 and helped the club from Athens win their first Euroleague title.

In his first European season, Wilkins averaged 20,1 points and 7,4 rebounds, particularly excelling in the most important games during the championship run, and was awarded the EuroLeague Final Four MVP.

He then returned to the NBA to play a season with the San Antonio Spurs before joining Fortitudo Bologna in 1997 for another year in Europe.

Allen Iverson

One of the best ball handlers in NBA history actually ended his career in Europe. He joined Besiktas in October 2010 but played just ten games for the Turkish side due to a calf injury.

He didn’t officially retire until 2013, but he played his last games as a pro donning Besiktas’ colors. Iverson averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 assists in Turkey and 9,3 points with three assists and rebounds in EuroCup.

Allen Iverson was an NBA MVP (2001), 11-time All-Star, and a four-time scoring champion during his career. Among many other accolades, he received three All-NBA First Team honors and was a Rookie of the Year in 1997 three-time steals leader… A legend.

Bob McAdoo

Legendary Bob McAdoo spent four years playing for Olimpia Milano (1986-90) as a two-time NBA champion, three-time top scorer, and 1975 MVP.

He led Milano to two straight FIBA European Champions Cup (EuroLeague) titles in the 1986–87 and 1987–88 seasons, being named the EuroLeague Final Four MVP in 1988. With the same club, he also won the FIBA Intercontinental Cup (1987), two Italian League championships (1987, 1989), and the Italian Cup (1987).

Definitely, one of the best players to ever step foot on the European basketball courts.

Byron ScottScottByron-Panathinaikos1997

In the summer of 1997, Scott signed with the Greek Basket League team Panathinaikos for the 1997–98 season as a 14 years NBA veteran.

In the Saporta Cup’s 1997–98 season, the three-time NBA champion averaged 13.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals, in 25.6 minutes per game, in 17 games played.

Scott helped to lead his team to the Greek Basket League championship with his scoring in many crucial games and averaged 17.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, in 33.7 minutes per game, in 34 games played. After one season in Greece, he retired from playing professional basketball and began his coaching career.

Amare Stoudemire

As one of the most dominant big men in the NBA during his days, Stoudemire signed a two-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem in 2016, a team he co-owned in the Israeli Basketball Premier League.

During his time in Jerusalem, he helped the team win the Israeli Basketball League Cup and earned All-EuroCup Second Team honors for the 2016–17 season. He also received Israeli League All-Star honors. In June 2017, he played a crucial role in Hapoel Jerusalem’s victory in the Basketball Super League.

After his initial retirement, Stoudemire surprised fans by coming out of retirement to sign with Hapoel Jerusalem again for the 2018–19 season.

In 2020, Stoudemire returned to Israel for a third stint, this time signing with Maccabi Tel Aviv, and was honored with the title of Israeli Basketball Premier League Finals MVP after winning the championship for the second time.

Deron Williams

During the 2011 NBA lockout, Williams signed a one-year contract to play for Besiktas of the Turkish Basketball League and the FIBA EuroChallenge.

On November 22, 2011, one of the best NBA point guards of his time scored 50 points against Gottingen during a EuroChallenge first group-stage game.

After a tentative agreement to end the 2011 NBA lockout was reached, Williams’s jersey #8 was retired by Besiktas, despite the US guard playing just 15 games. He had some memorable performances during his time with the team, averaging 19.7 points and 6.4 assists.

Josh Childress

In July 2008, Childress signed a three-year, $20 million contract with Olympiacos and is still remembered for his stint in Piraeus, despite spending eight seasons in the NBA. He played 391 regular season games for the Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets, and New Orleans Pelicans.

During the 2008–09 EuroLeague season, he averaged 8.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. In the 2009–10 EuroLeague season, he improved his performance, averaging 15.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. He also played with Olympiacos in the final, but they lost to Barcelona.

He was selected for the All-EuroLeague second team, won the Greek Cup, and became the Greek Basket League top scorer. Additionally, he was named part of the All-GBL defensive team.

George Gervin

After 14 years in the ABA and NBA, the Iceman spent a season with Banco di Roma in Italy and finished his career with Spanish Manresa in 1990.

Even though he was a veteran, Gervin averaged 26.1 points per game in Italy, and 25.5 points, five rebounds, and 1.2 assists with Manresa, despite joining the team at 38 years old. He even scored 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to keep Manresa in the first Spanish division.

One of the all-time greats left his mark in Europe, while the NBA named him as one of the 75 greatest players in its history.

Alex English

The Denver Nuggets legend, a holder of many franchise records until Nikola Jokic arrived in the NBA and shattered several, spent his last season playing in Italy for Basket Napoli.

English was signed for the second half of the season by Napoli Basket, and together with Walter Berry, another foreign player on the Neapolitan team, formed one of the strongest pairs of foreign players in the history of basketball under the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.

He was an NBA scoring champion in 1983, played in eight All-Star games, and was selected three times for the All-NBA Second Team. The Nuggets retired his No. 2 jersey.

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