Since he was drafted third overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, Luka Dončić has become one of the biggest young stars in the NBA. The Slovenian-born superstar won Rookie of the Year honors in 2019 and was an all-star in 2020. He looks poised to be one of the league’s best players for the next decade or more. Dončić also got us thinking about some of the other players to come out of his homeland. Thus, we have compiled a list of the best NBA players aside from Dončić from the tiny European country of Slovenia.
Brezec didn’t have a standout career in the NBA. But the big man was an important part of the Bobcats when they joined the league as an expansion team.
Brezec had a few solid seasons in Charlotte before fading into the background. However, he was one of the first NBA players from Slovenia, helping blaze a path for others to follow.
While he never quite lived up to the billing of a first-round pick, Vujačić was a decent role player for seven years. He then returned to Europe, only to play a few more seasons in the NBA from 2013 to 2017.
Vujačić spent most of his career serving as the backup to Kobe Bryant, which isn’t a terrible job. He was a modest contributor when the Lakers won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010 and later averaged a career-high 11.4 points with the Nets during the 2010-11 season.
Nesterović is arguably the best big man to ever come out of Slovenia. He played 12 NBA seasons, starting nearly 600 games, including 70 games for the 2004-05 San Antonio team that won the NBA title.
Nesterović was never much of a scorer, but he could rebound, play defense, and do a lot of the dirty work. His team made the playoffs in 10 of his seasons, so he usually played on winning teams. Perhaps most importantly, he’s Dončić’s godfather.
Before returning to Europe in 2017, Udrih played 13 seasons in the NBA, spending time with eight teams. He was a double-digit scorer in four straight seasons while being Sacramento’s starting point guard.
Udrih also won a couple of rings early in his career while coming off the bench for San Antonio. He was never a star, but he had a long career as a reliable backup, which is nothing to scoff at.
Before Dončić came around, Dragić was unquestionably the best NBA player to come out of Slovenia. He joined the league in 2008, won the NBA’s Most-Improved Players Award in 2014, and was named an all-star in 2018. Since the 2011-12 season, Dragić has averaged double figures every year, becoming a steady and underrated contributor for both the Suns and Heat.
In 2018, Dragić became the first Slovenia player to amass 10,000 points in the NBA, although he will likely be surpassed by Dončić one day as the country’s greatest basketball player.