News / USA

    International Players' Impact on NBA Grows in Past Two Decades

    Washington Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich, right, reaches in against San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, left, of France, during an NBA basketball game in Washington, Feb 12, 2011
    Washington Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich, right, reaches in against San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker, left, of France, during an NBA basketball game in Washington, Feb 12, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Mariama Diallo

    The number of foreign-born players in America's professional National Basketball Association has tripled in the past two decades. One of the veterans - San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker - and a rookie - Washington Wizards' Hamady Ndiaye - talk about their respective experiences as foreigners in the NBA.

    For NBA fans, Tony Parker is a household name, a 10-year veteran on one of the best teams in the league. Hamady Ndiaye is a little-known rookie on a team that loses far more often than it wins. What these two players have in common is they both grew up outside of the United States.

    Parker is fortunate to be playing for one of the National Basketball Association's best teams, the San Antonio Spurs.

    The Spurs have won four NBA titles in the past 12 seasons and have high hopes for another one. Two-thirds of the way through the season they have the best record in the league, having won 84 percent of their games with a 46-9 mark through February 17.

    They recently scored a lopsided win over the struggling Washington Wizards in the nation's capital. Although he scored the most points for the Spurs, Parker still credited the team.

    "It was a great team win," said Parker. "The team played great, everybody contributed; so it was a great win."

    He was drafted in 2001 when he was only 19 years old. In only his second season with San Antonio, the Spurs won their second NBA title - their first came in 1999 - and they added championships in 2005 and 2007, when Parker was named Most Valuable Player.

    Parker was born in Belgium to a Dutch mother and an African-American father, but grew up in France, where football (soccer) is one of the most popular sports.

    "When we grew up basketball was in our family. We were big Chicago Bulls fans because my dad is from Chicago, so we always played basketball. That was the main sport in the family."

    Parker's father played professional basketball in Europe and one of his two brothers currently plays in France.  

    He says basketball is one of the reasons he loves living in the United States and he's happy in San Antonio, Texas. "I am feeling very blessed and very lucky to be in a great organization, a great team. This year we are having a great year."

    While Parker is considered a veteran since he has been with the Spurs for about a decade, Hamady Ndiaye of the Washington Wizards is a rookie in the NBA, being drafted last year out of Rutgers University in New Jersey.

    A native of Senegal, Ndiaye is 2.1-meters (7 feet) - tall and recently celebrated his 24th birthday. The Wizards have won only 27 percent of their games so far this season - with a 15-54 record through February 17 - but the rookie remains upbeat.

    Washington Wizards second-round draft pick Hamady Ndiaye speaks to reporters during a basketball news conference introducing him to the media in Washington, June 29, 2010
    Washington Wizards second-round draft pick Hamady Ndiaye speaks to reporters during a basketball news conference introducing him to the media in Washington, June 29, 2010

    "Well, it is very tough for the whole team and for me in particular," said Ndiaye. "I just came back from the D-league and I try to help these guys out at practice. Seeing us lose this hard, we [have] to pick it up real quick and move on. We got one coming up tomorrow. Hopefully we will get together and come in ready."

    Ndiaye was born in Dakar, but says he spent a lot of time in Saly and Ngaparu, two resort towns with scores of hotels and luxury residences spread along their beaches.  

    He credits one person, Babacar Sy, not only for teaching him the basics in basketball when he was 15, but also with finding him a scholarship at a high school in California. He later would get another scholarship to Rutgers, where he played for four years and eventually earned a communications degree.

    Although playing in the NBA is a dream come true, Ndiaye said there also are some tough moments.

    "It is pretty tough not having your family and people you know and love around you," said Ndiaye. "It is tough, but I know I am here for a reason.  Bigger things, not just me or my family, but I got a whole country behind me and supporting me all over the place. So it is tough in a way, but at the same time rewarding, knowing that I am working hard for a reason."

    Ndiaye and Parker are following in a long tradition of foreign-born NBA players. Henry Biasatti of Italy is credited with being the first international player in the league in 1946.

    In 1992, though, the year of the original U.S. Olympic "Dream Team,"  the NBA had only 21 international players on its rosters. Today, that number has tripled to 20 percent of all NBA players who represent 40 countries.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora