5 former NBA players who are slam dunking it in Europe
Remember these guys? Their careers are now thriving across the Atlantic.
Longtime National Basketball Association (NBA) player Nate Robinson, a fan favorite because of his small stature (he's 5 feet 9 inches tall) and his extraordinary leaping ability (he's won three NBA Slam Dunk competitions), has signed to play with top tier Israeli basketball team Hapoel Tel Aviv. The squad currently finds itself atop Israel's competitive domestic league, and if they stay there would qualify for the Euroleague, an 18-country competition that pits the best European club teams against each other to crown a champion.
Robinson, of course, isn't the first NBA player to try his luck in Europe. Here are a few other stars who proved they could hang in "The Association" before deciding to head to the Euroleague.
Rudy Fernandez, Real Madrid
The Spaniard Fernandez had four solid seasons in the NBA, three in Portland and one in Denver, before returning to his homeland in 2011. It's proven to be a good move. He's become one of the Euroleague's top players, earning All-Euroleague Second Team honors last year, while leading Real Madrid to three championship appearances, of which they've won one.
Jan Veselý, Fenerbahçe
Jan Veselý was supposed to be starring on the other side of the pond, having been a top draft pick by the NBA's Washington Wizards in 2011. However, things never panned out for the 6-11 Czech forward. His career high average for points was a paltry 4.7 points, achieved in the first of his four seasons in the league. Now playing in Turkey, his basketball career is faring much better. Vesely is playing for one of the top teams in Europe, and he himself is considered one of the top big men on the continent.
Alexey Shved, BC Khimki
A solid contributor on several teams during three seasons in the NBA – he averaged nearly 15 points per game for the New York Knicks last season – Shved opted to return to his homeland of Russia to continue his playing career. He's quickly become one of the best players in the country, and in all of Europe.
Luke Harangody, Darüşşafaka Spor Kulübü
Luke Harangody's All-American college career afforded him a few seasons in the NBA, but eventually he packed his bags and went overseas, first to Russia, then to Spain, and now Turkey, where he plays for the Istanbul-based team Darüşşafaka Spor Kulübü. He quickly established himself as a starter and continues to put up solid numbers and prove himself as one of the most efficient players around.
Nick Calathes, Panathinaikos B.C.
Nick Calathes was a star in high school and was a star for the University of Florida's men's basketball team before he skipped out on his last two years of eligibility to sign with Greek team Panathinaikos B.C. He eventually found his way back to the NBA, where he had a few solid seasons playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. He's now back with Panathinaikos B.C.
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