In Germany, soccer is king! Also, there have been many occasions that Germany is the king of the soccer world. However, Germany has slowly but surely come along as a basketball nation and now regularly sends players to the NBA, some of which have become genuine stars. While there will certainly be more great German players in the future, here are the best German-born players to play in the NBA so far.
Born in Germany while his family was stationed on a U.S. military base, Bradley has dual citizenship and is also one of the tallest players in NBA history at 7’6’’. His offensive production was always solid if unspectacular, at least early in his career.
But Bradley always made a difference on the boards and as a shot-blocker, leading the NBA with four blocks per game during the 1996-97 season. He ended up playing 12 NBA seasons, averaging eight points and 2.5 blocks per game.
At age 27, Schröder has already done enough to be one of the best Germans to play in the NBA. It took him a few years to get going but he eventually became a regular starter for the Hawks and earned a lucrative contract extension.
Schröder averaged a career-high 19.4 points per game during the 2017-18 campaign before being traded to Oklahoma City. He was then traded to the Lakers and continues to be a valuable role player with a lot of good years ahead of him.
While he represented the U.S. at multiple Olympics, Boozer was born on a military base in Germany and ultimately spent most of his childhood in Alaska. Nevertheless, he’s a German-born NBA player who had a solid career that included two all-star selections.
The first two seasons of Boozer’s career in Cleveland are largely forgettable, but he was a key figure on playoff teams in both Utah and Chicago for many years. At his peak, Boozer averaged a double-double in four straight seasons, scoring as much as 21.1 points per game in a season. For his 13-year career, Boozer averaged 16.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Schrempf is another tall German who ended up moving to the state of Washington for his final year of high school before playing at the University of Washington before his exemplary NBA career. He stayed in the league for 16 years, receiving three all-star selections and winning Sixth Man of the Year honors twice.
Schrempf was also a trailblazer of sorts, becoming the first European player to play in the All-Star Game. Fittingly, he had some of his best seasons in his adoptive hometown of Seattle and then finished his career with the Portland Trailblazers. In 16 seasons, Schrempf averaged a respectable 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Among German-born players, Nowitzki has set the bar awfully high. He was a bonafide star in the NBA for many years and is arguably the best European player ever. By his second NBA season, Nowitzki was a key player for the Mavericks. In his fourth season, he made his first of 14 All-Star Teams.
Nowitzki ended up playing 21 NBA seasons, all with the Mavericks, averaging over 20 points per game in 13 of those seasons. He won MVP honors in 2007 and finally led the Mavericks to an NBA title in 2011, earning Finals MVP honors. Nowitzki will forever be a legend in Dallas and will surely be in the Hall of Fame one day.