Who are the top European basketball players of all time? Yes, James Naismith, a North American, created the game. But basketball’s dynamism and development across the years, and the many stars who’ve energized the sport in all corners of Europe have made the sport a genuinely global game.
The Italian was a very rough, physical player, and sometimes deemed dirty. His style of play mixed elements from Charles Oakley, Bill Laimbeer, Anthony Mason, and Dennis Rodman. Nobody can overlook what Meneghin achieved for Italy and in the Italian League in the 1970s and 1980s.
Juan Carlos Navarro|Spain
The talented scorer for FC Barcelona (1997-2007, 2008-present) had a one-season stint with the Memphis Grizzlies. He made the most of it, getting NBA All-Rookie Second Team tributes in his time away from the Spanish League powerhouse. He averaged 11 ppg for the Grizzlies.
He was Yugoslavia’s top scorer on the 2002 world title team (18.8 ppg). Stojakovic, one of the top European basketball players ever, was in the NBA from 1998-2011. His outside shooting skills were particularly effective at the outset of his career with Sacramento.
The Kings retired his jersey in 2014 and a year later “Peja” Stojaković was chosen as the director of player personnel and development for the Sacramento Kings.
Kresimir Cosic played for Brigham Young University (1970-73). At the time, he was one of the top European basketball players and he was the 1st foreigner honored as a collegiate All-American in 1972 and 1973. Also, he made over 300 appearances for the Yugoslavia national team, including four consecutive Olympiads beginning in 1968.
In 1996, Cosic became only the 3rd international player ever put into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was put into the FIBA Hall of Fame. BYU retired his jersey in 2006. In 1995, Cosic died in Baltimore, Maryland of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.