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Top 10 Countdown: Greatest Latino Basketball Players Ever

Manu Ginobili in 2015, his last season in the NBA. Ginobili is known as one of the greatest Spurs in history.

In honor of the recent NBA 75 list that just came out, which named the top basketball players of all time now that the NBA is officially in its 75th season as an association, I’ve decided to create something similar: a list of the greatest Latino hoopers of all time. Now, obviously, I can’t do a full 75 players, but here are my top 10 Latin players who impacted the game the most.

10. Eduardo Najera 

Najera, despite being an NBA journeyman, was a very consistent player in his 12-year career, and one of the few successful Mexican basketball players in NBA history. Although he only averaged 4.1 points for his career, Najera’s shooting was on point, as he shot above 48% for his career.

9. Francisco Garcia

Garcia, who is of Dominican descent, played 10 seasons from 2005 to 2015 as a member of the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings, and was an extremely productive player during his time in the league. As a 6’7″ Small Forward, Garcia averaged 7.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists on 42% shooting.

8. Andres Nocioni

Argentinian forward Andres Nocioni, in his eight-year career, was underrated as a scorer, averaging 10.2 points for his career, including a career-high 14.1 points per game in the 2006-07 season. Playing for the Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, and Kings, Nocioni made a scoring impact wherever he went and was one of the better role players in his era.

7. Anderson Varejao

Brazilian-born Varejao had an impressively long career, beginning in the 2004-05 season and very recently retiring with his longtime native team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in the 2020-21 season. Varejao was a go-to big man in his prime, as he played on teams with superstars like LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kyrie Irving, complementing them well as a needed center, who averaged 7.2 points and 7.2 rebounds for his career.

6. J.J. Barea

Barea, known best for helping lead the Mavericks to an upset Finals win over the Miami Heat super team in 2011, has long been a relatively well-known and beloved player for the NBA community. Despite standing at just 5’10”, the Puerto Rican point guard has been a go-to guy, both starting and off the bench, to settle his squad and run the offense right. Overall, he was a well-rounded guard, averaging eight points to go with four assists in his 14-year career.

5. Nene

Nene may be one of the underappreciated players in the last decade of basketball. The 6’11” Brazilian center averaged 11.3 points and six rebounds in his entire career and established himself as a force in the paint and plus rebounder who could always benefit whichever team he played on.

4. Leandro Barbosa

Nicknamed “The Brazilian Blur,” Barbosa was a prolific scorer and shooter in his time in the league, which lasted from 2003-2017. Barbosa averaged 10.6 points on 46% FG shooting and 39% 3PT shooting for a career but had a standout season in 2006-07 while playing for the Phoenix Suns, where he averaged 18.1 points on 48% shooting from the field and was named 6th Man of the Year.

3. Luis Scola

Scola had a very interesting path into the NBA, having played in Spain for the first eight years of his basketball career before finally making the league as a “rookie” at the age of 27 in 2007-08. Scola played for the Rockets, Suns, Pacers, Raptors, and Nets, and despite his late career start, quickly adjusted to the league and averaged 14.3 points during his prime.

2. Al Horford

Dominican center Horford, the only active NBA player on this list, is probably one of the most accomplished and well-known of anyone listed. Horford has always been an anchoring force as he has played for successful teams like the Hawks, Celtics, and 76ers, and has always provided quality minutes as a starter. A five-time All-Star, Horford has averaged 13.1 points and 8.2 rebounds over the course of his career thus far.

1. Manu Ginobili

Ginobili is, hands-down, the most accomplished Latino NBA player ever purely in terms of accolades. The Argentinian sharpshooter was a 2-time All-Star, four-time NBA champ, and 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year. Ginobili was a member of the San Antonio Spurs his entire 16-year career and a part of the Spurs’ “big three” of Tony Parker, Ginobili, and Tim Duncan. Ginobili never really had a bad season and is the clear best Latin American player of all time (for now).

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