NBA Players

15 Best Hispanic Basketball Players Who Balled Out

By Salim Prajapati / 22 December 2023 03:32 AM

Source : sportingnews

Basketball, a sport that transcends borders and unites fans worldwide, has seen its fair share of iconic players who have left an indelible mark on the game.

Among these remarkable athletes are Hispanic players who have not only graced the courts but have also become symbols of inspiration for players around the globe.

In this examination of the basketball court, we explore the narratives of the top players of Hispanic descent who have genuinely excelled, individuals whose skills on the hardwood have influenced the dynamics of the game.

From impressive ball-handling to crucial shots, the journey of each player underscores the abundant diversity and skill within the Hispanic community

1. Manu Ginobili

Source : twitter

  • Birthplace: Bahia Blanca, Argentina
  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Playing career: 1995-2018
  • 4x NBA champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2014)

Manu Ginobili epitomizes the ideal sixth man in basketball, boasting an impressive resume that includes four NBA championships, two All-Star selections, and a probable future induction into the Hall of Fame.

Throughout his illustrious career, Ginobili maintained remarkable averages of 19.3 points, 5.4 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per 36 minutes, accompanied by a three-point shooting accuracy of 36.8 percent.

Notably, these statistics align with those of Larry Bird, making them the only two players in NBA history to achieve such a remarkable combination of scoring, playmaking, and shooting proficiency.

2. Al Horford

Source : instagram

  • Birthplace: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
  • Position: Power Forward | Center
  • Playing career: 2007-present
  • 5x NBA All-Star

Al Horford, nicknamed "Big Al," is a Dominican-Bahamian professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics.

Horford's career has spanned 17 seasons and seen him play for the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Oklahoma City Thunder before returning to the Celtics in 2021.

A five-time NBA All-Star and 2008 NBA All-Rookie Team selection, Horford has also played a key role on the international stage, representing the Dominican Republic national team and helping them win a bronze medal at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship.

3. Pau Gasol

Source : instagram

  • Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
  • Position: Center | power forward
  • Playing career: 1998-2021
  • 2x NBA champion (2009, 2010)
  • 6x NBA All-Star

Pau Gasol, a 7-foot-1 power forward from Spain, is widely considered one of the greatest European basketball players ever.

Gasol was drafted 3rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2001 and quickly traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, where he blossomed into a star.

In 2008, he joined the Los Angeles Lakers, forming a dominant duo with Kobe Bryant and winning back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. Throughout his 18-year career, Gasol was a 6-time All-Star and a 4-time All-NBA selection.

He also dominated internationally, winning a FIBA World Cup championship and three EuroBasket titles with the Spanish national team.

4. Willy Hernangomez

Source : twitter

  • Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
  • Position: Center
  • Playing career: 2011-present
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (2017)

Willy Hernangomez, a 7-foot tall center hailing from Spain, has carved out a solid career for himself in the NBA and European basketball.

Beginning with Real Madrid, where he secured two Liga ACB championships, he entered the NBA after being drafted by the New York Knicks in 2016.

Hernangomez subsequently played for the Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, and New Orleans Pelicans before making a return to Europe in 2023 to join FC Barcelona.

Besides, Hernangomez has also had success on the international stage, winning the EuroBasket MVP award in 2022 and helping Spain to a silver medal at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

5. Nene

Source : chron

  • Birthplace: Sao Carlos, Brazil
  • Position: Center | power forward
  • Playing career: 1999-2020
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (2003)

Born Maybyner Rodney Hilário, Nene carved his name into Hispanic basketball history as a dominant and versatile big man.

He rose from Brazilian youth leagues to NBA stardom, averaging 11.3 points and 6 rebounds across a 17-year career. A skilled post scorer and passer, Nene anchored defenses with his athleticism and toughness and led the Denver Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals in 2008

On the international stage, he proudly represented Brazil, winning a silver medal at the FIBA AmeriCups and competing in two Olympics.

6. Anderson Varejao

Source : cleveland

  • Birthplace: Colatina, Brazil
  • Position: Center | power forward
  • Playing career: 1998-2021
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2010)

Anderson Varejao, a Brazilian-born center, carved his legacy in the NBA primarily with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Drafted in 2004, he spent 13 seasons with the team, becoming a fan favorite for his hustle, energy, and defensive prowess. Though not known for his scoring, Varejao's rebounding and interior defense were instrumental in the Cavaliers' 2016 championship run alongside LeBron James.

On the other hand, Varejao is also a decorated member of the Brazilian national team, winning a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games along with two FIBA AmeriCup titles in 2005 and 2009.

7. Eduardo Najera

Source : facebook

  • Birthplace: Chihuahua, Mexico
  • Position: Power forward | small forward
  • Playing career: 2000-2012

Eduardo Najera blazed a trail for Mexican basketball players in the NBA. Though not the flashiest scorer, his hustle, rebounding prowess, and defensive grit made him a valuable role player for five teams over 12 seasons.

The Houston Rockets chose him as the 38th overall pick in the second round of the 2000 NBA draft. He gained experience in the NBA while playing for the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, and Charlotte Bobcats.

One of his memorable contributions was that he helped the Dallas Mavericks reach the 2006 Finals.

8. Marc Gasol

Source : si

  • Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
  • Position: Center
  • Playing career: 2003-present
  • NBA champion (2019)
  • 3x NBA All-Star 

Marc Gasol, the younger brother of fellow NBA star Pau Gasol, forged his own path to basketball greatness.

After starting his career in Spain, he was drafted 48th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007 but quickly traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. It was in Memphis where Gasol blossomed, becoming a three-time All-Star, a two-time All-NBA selection, and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.

In 2019, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors and helped them win their first NBA championship that same year.

9. Andres Nocioni

Source : twitter

  • Birthplace: Santa Fe, Argentina
  • Position: Small forward | power forward
  • Playing career: 1996-2017
  • 2001 NBA undrafted

Andres Nocioni, also known as "El Chapu," was a versatile Argentine basketball forward who left his mark on two continents.

Nocioni excelled in the EuroLeague, securing an MVP award and a championship, before making a significant impact in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings.

On an international level, Nocioni played a crucial role in Argentina's success at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where the team secured a gold medal.

Additionally, he was part of the Argentine squad that earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis.

10. J.J. Barea

Source : facebook

  • Birthplace: Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Playing career: 2001-2022
  • 2011 NBA champion

J.J. Barea, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Puerto Rico, played 14 seasons in the NBA, primarily for the Dallas Mavericks.

Though undersized, Barea's hustle, playmaking, and clutch shooting made him a valuable role player. He was a key part of the Mavericks' 2011 championship run, averaging 9.5 points and 3.9 assists per game.

Barea also played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and briefly returned to Dallas before leaving the NBA in 2020. He is currently the head coach for the Mets de Guaynabo in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional, Puerto Rico's top basketball league.

11. Leandro Barbosa

Source : instagram

  • Birthplace: Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Position: Shooting guard | point guard
  • Playing career: 1999-2020
  • NBA champion (2015)

Leandro Barbosa, famously known as "The Brazilian Blur," brought excitement to NBA arenas over a span of 14 seasons.

Selected by the Suns in 2003, his rapid pace and scoring abilities led to him being recognized as the Sixth Man of the Year, playing for the Phoenix team.

Moreover, Barbosa secured a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, displaying his seasoned leadership. As the current assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings, he continues to inspire a new generation with his infectious passion for the sport.

12. Rudy Fernandez

Source : bleacherreport

  • Birthplace: Palma, Spain
  • Position: Small forward | Shooting guard
  • Playing career: 2002-present
  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2009)

Rudy Fernandez, a three-time All-EuroLeague Team pick, clinched the EuroLeague championship in 2015, 2018, and 2023.

While in the NBA, he earned recognition as a member of the NBA All-Rookie Second Team while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Internationally, Fernández proudly represents the senior Spain national team, securing two FIBA World Cup victories in 2006 and 2019, along with two Olympic silver medals and four EuroBasket titles in 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2022.

13. Luis Scola

Source : twitter

  • Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Position: Power forward
  • Playing career: 1995-2021
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (2008)

Luis Scola is an Argentine legend whose impact resonates both in the NBA and international basketball.

From his formative years at Ferro Carril Oeste to his remarkable presence with the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns, he has left an indelible mark across continents.

Widely celebrated for his prowess as a power forward, Scola's international accolades are just as impressive. He is a two-time Olympic medalist, leading Argentina to gold in 2004 and bronze in 2008.

14. Tiago Splitter

Source : si

  • Birthplace: Joinville, Brazil
  • Position: Center | power forward
  • Playing career: 1999-2017
  • NBA champion (2014)

Tiago Splitter is the first Brazilian-born to lift the NBA championship. Before entering the NBA, Tiago earned three All-EuroLeague Team selections.

In 2014, he made history as the first Brazilian-born player to secure an NBA championship, leading the San Antonio Spurs to victory alongside notable players like Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Kawhi Leonard.

Prior to his stint with the Spurs, Tiago dedicated a decade to playing in Spain, representing both Bilbao Basket and Saski Baskonia.

Following his time in San Antonio, Tiago contributed to the Valencia team in Spain and concluded his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks for one final season before retiring in 2017.

15. Francisco Garcia

Source : twitter

  • Birthplace: San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic
  • Position: Shooting guard | small forward
  • Playing career: 2005-2017

Dominican dynamo Francisco Garcia, among the top Hispanic players listed by Bleacher Reports, had a remarkable 10-year NBA career known for his sharpshooting skills and tenacious defense.

Drafted in 2005, Garcia spent eight seasons with the Sacramento Kings, endearing himself to fans with his clutch three-pointers and unwavering energy on the defensive end of the court while maintaining an admirable average of 7.9 points per game.

Despite a brief stint with the Houston Rockets, Garcia left an indelible mark on the league, serving as an inspiration for future generations of Hispanic basketball talent.