Best Latin American basketball players in NBA history

Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

NBA players have always set the standard for professional basketball. Given their unparalleled achievements in multiple settings, it’s almost impossible to limit their glory to a list of a few players. Some players, however, perform significantly better than others, which puts them among the players worthy of consideration for the Hall of Fame.

Several Latin American-born NBA players have proven themselves in the prestigious league throughout history. Their inspiring journey to the best basketball league in the world is nothing short of hard work and dedication.

Below is a list of outstanding players from Latin America who have amazed the NBA world:

Manu Ginobili

Averaging 19.3 points, 5.1 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per 36 minutes while shooting 36.8 percent from beyond the arc is a rare feat in modern basketball. Manu Ginobili has undoubtedly earned his All-Star status in 2005 and 2011 as well as his four NBA championships.

The former Argentine NBA player exuded grandeur and individuality, making the San Antonio Spurs appear otherworldly in even the most popular. basketball markets. The potential Hall of Famer showed off his abilities in what seemed like a race to top everyone else. Unlike his teammates, he made excellent use of a variety of wild moves and extreme passes. Moreover, his exemplary accuracy portrayed a man so agile he could seemingly perform beyond possibility. It definitely deserves to be mentioned on this list.

Nene (Nene Hilario)

For 13 years, Nenê worked tirelessly to establish himself as one of the most memorable NBA players of all time. The Brazilian is known for playing a lot of minutes and executing his attacking strategies with exceptional skill. Nenê’s size and strength aided his offensive accomplishments while supporting his defensive presence. He averaged 12.3 points per game, 1.2 steals, 54.3 percent from the field and a DBPM of 2.0.

Leandro Barbosa

Another outstanding basketball player is Leandro Mateus Barbosa. “The Brazilian Blur”, as he is colloquially known, has the distinction of being the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2007 and an NBA Champion in 2015. During his 2007 season, Leandro averaged 18.1 points and 4 assists. Later in 2014, he averaged 16.4 points and 3.4 assists per 36 minutes.

Barbosa spent his first eight years with the Suns before joining the Golden State Warriors in 2014 to end his 12-year career. He is remembered for his outstanding play for both teams, which earned him a position as a mentor coach for the Golden State Warriors.

JJ Barea

JJ Barea is a current NBA icon who has carved out a place for himself among the elite. The 37-year-old Puerto Rican has 9 years of NBA experience and landed a job as a player development coach for the Dallas Mavericks.

Barea established himself as a memorable player in 2011 with an average of 17.3 points and 6 assists. In the final, he also started three games. His teammates praised him for being a resilient warrior and an inspiration. Barea then played for the Minnesota Timberwolves before returning to the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. He was an extremely talented player for both clubs.

Andres Nocioni

Andres Nocioni was a determined basketball player who won the Euroleague Championship in 2015. In the NBA, the Argentine player is a symbol of agility. During his first five seasons with the Chicago Bulls, he averaged 11.7 points and five rebounds per game.

Nocioni exemplifies the type of player who likes to gamble rather than just shoot hoops for a living. Between 2005 and 2009, he averaged 12.8 points and 5.1 rebounds due to his unique approach to the game.

Edward Najera

Eduardo Najera is also considered one of the greatest Latin American NBA players of all time. The Mexican stands out for his 12-year career and his many achievements over such a long period.

Najera’s work ethic was one of his best qualities. It was evident every time he played. On the Dallas Mavericks and other teams in the past, Najera has shown a rare level of toughness. He is particularly notable as a defensive player.

Why would a player choose to play outside of their home country?

In most cases, it’s about looking for opportunities where the grass is greener. Every top athlete wants to push their limits and compete with other elites in order to make their mark in the sports world. After all, iron sharpens iron. The most ambitious players of South American Local Basketball Leagues train harder and outrun local competitions. These players inevitably end up attracting the attention of international scouts. When scouts from more competitive leagues come knocking on the door, it’s natural to grab the opportunity by the scruff of the neck.


There is no doubt that Latin American players, from Manu Ginobili to Andres Nocioni and Eduardo Najera, are the epitome of basketball excellence, uniqueness and creativity. Their outstanding performances put them firmly on the list of players to study and emulate. Their legacies will continue to be worthy targets and a source of motivation for the next generation of Latin American basketball players.

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