Inspired by the Word Baseball Classic, there’s a baseball version of this going around the internet right now. I know how these things go, so I’m getting ahead of the trend on this one.
So I think the strategy is to build the best starting five first and then fill-in backups and reserves. Also, you’re going to want to get the greatest player of all-time on your roster. Whatever that means to you – Wilt, LeBron, MJ – they’re all American, which means you only get one. The good news is that it gives you position flexibility – C, SF, SG – so you can figure out your other 4 and pick the American that fits at the end.
The best foreign born player ever is Tim Duncan (Virgin Islands). The benefit of taking him is that he is a PF so he leaves the American flexibility. Next is probably Dirk Nowitzki (Germany)…unfortunately also a PF, so probably my first backup.
The underrated Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) is next. I’ll gladly give the Center position to The Dream and cut loose any shot at Wilt.
So my C and PF are filled. Looking through a list of foreign born players, it turns out many of best are big men. Maybe I’ll use some of these to fill in: Pau Gasol (Spain), Patrick Ewing (Jamaica), Dikembe Mutombo (Congo), Yao Ming (China).
At PG I found two fun surprises for my team. I was expecting Steve Nash. The surprise was that he was born in South Africa, not Canada. Similarly, the same thing for Tony Parker. I was expecting France, but he was actually born in Belgium.
So France is still available…and there is a surprise Hall of Famer. SF Dominique Wilkins was born in France. Taking Dominique eliminates LeBron as my SF. The last of my original Americans is Jordan. No complaints.
PG Steve Nash (South Africa)
SG Michael Jordan (US)
SF Dominique Wilkins (France)
PF Tim Duncan (Virgin Islands)
C Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria)
PG Tony Parker (Belgium)
SG Manu Ginobili (Argentina)
SF Peja Stojakovic (Croatia)
PF Dirk Nowitzki (Germany)
C Patrick Ewing (Jamaica)
Pau Gasol (Spain)
Rolando Blackman (Panama)
Kyrie Irving (Australia)