Nate Robinson shows off his leaping ability as a member of the New York Knicks. Nate Robinson shows off his leaping ability as a member of the New York Knicks. Nate Robinson shows off his leaping ability as a member of the New York Knicks. (Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

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

RudyRudy Fernandez played four seasons in the NBA before returning home to Spain to play for Real Madrid. (Photo: LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

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

JanJan Veselý (right) has found a home at Fenerbahçe, one of Europe's top teams. (Photo: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

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

AlexeyAlexey Shved was a solid contributor in the NBA last season but opted to play in Russia this year. (Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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

LukeLuke Harangody was an All-American at the University of Notre Dame. (Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

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.

NickNick Calathes was a star at the University of Florida before he took off for the pros. (Photo: Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

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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