Throughout the years, African players have graced the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 2023 NBA rosters consisted of 16 players from the continent, and they are catching the eye of fans and opponents. Who are these NBA players from Africa?
- Joel Embiid
- Bismack Biyombo
- Pascal Siakam
- Christian Koloko
- Serge Ibaka
- Gorgui Dieng
- Bol Bol
- Mamate Diakite
- Josh Okogie
- Udoka Azubuike
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1. Joel Embiid
Born in Cameroon, Joel Embiid is one of the best NBA players from Africa. He started his basketball career in high school and later joined the Kansas program in 2013 and played at the collegiate level. After one year, he was drafted by his current team, the Philadelphia 76ers, as a third-overall pick. Embiid has been a star for his team and received high recognition.
- 7 NBA Player of the Month
- 11 NBA Player of the Week
- 1 NBA Most Valuable Player (2023)
- 3 NBA Rookie of the Month
- 1 All-Rookie Team (2017)
- 2 NBA Scoring Champions (2022, 2023)
- 3 All-Defensive Team (2018, 2019, 2021)
2. Bismack Biyombo
Bismack is one of the best NBA players from Africa. He is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He played in the Spanish league for three teams – Fuenlebrada Getafe Madrid, CB Illescas and Baloncesto Fuenlabrada – before he moved to the NBA.
His first team in the NBA was the Charlotte Hornets, where he played for one season. Since then, he’s played for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, went back to the Hornets, and currently plates for the Phoenix Suns.
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3. Pascal Siakam
Siakam joined the list of NBA players from Africa in 2016 when the Toronto Raptors drafted him as a 27th overall pick. The Cameroonian is making the most of his time in the league, as he has collected a number of awards. These include:
- 2× NBA All-Star (2020, 2023)
- All-NBA Third Team (2022)
- All-NBA Second Team (2020)
- NBA champion (2019)
- NBA Most Improved Player (2019)
4. Christian Koloko
Koloko is another NBA player from Africa and a member of the Toronto Raptors. The Cameroon international was drafted into the team in 2022 as a 33rd overall pick He plays in the centre and has 3.31 points per game.
5. Serge Ibaka
The Congolese-Spanish basketballer played in Congo and Spain before he was drafted by Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008 as a 24th overall pick. He went on and played for Orlando Magic, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Ibaka won the NBA in 2019 with the Raptors and is a silver medalist with the Spanish basketball team secured at London 2012 Olympic Games.
6. Gorgui Dieng
Gorgui Dieng added to the number of NBA players from Africa when he joined the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2013.
The Senegalese played for the Wolves for 7 years before he moved to Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs. Atlanta Hawks and the San Antonio Spurs, where he currently plays. He was named the All-Rookie Team and the NBA Rookie of the Month.
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7. Bol Bol
The 7’2’ American-Sudanese had a lengthy college career before he began his NBA career in 2019 with the Denver Nuggets. He played for three years and moved to Orlando Magic, where he currently plays. Bol Bol is yet another NBA player from Africa and is the son of one of the tallest NBA players, the late Manuel Bol.
8. Mamadi Diakite
Mamadi Diakite is a Guinean international and one of the NBA players from Africa. His career in the NBA began with the Milwaukee Bucks before he moved to the Oklahoma City Thunder. And before he moved to his current side Cleveland Cavaliers.
Despite his brief spell in the league, he won the NBA with Milwaukee Bucks in 2021.
9. Josh Okogie
The Nigerian international started his NBA career in 2018 with Minnesota Timberwolves after he was drafted as the 20th overall pick. He played there for four years and moved to the Phoenix Suns.
10. Udoka Azubuike
Udoka is a Nigerian NBA player who plays for Utah Jazz after the team drafted him as a 27th overall pick.
The fact that these players are doing well in the NBA, and signed for some good money, demonstrates that Africa, if well-organized, can be a basketball powerhouse.
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