The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that 108 international players from 38 countries and territories are on opening-night rosters for the 2019-20 season, marking the sixth consecutive season that opening-night rosters feature at least 100 international players.
The record for international players (113) and record for countries and territories represented (42) were set at the start of the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, respectively.
This year’s 108 international players are more than four times the 24 international players on opening-night rosters for the 1994-95 season 25 years ago. Opening-night rosters also feature a record 16 Canadian players – the most players from a non-U.S. country ever on opening-night rosters.
The most-represented countries among the 108 international players on opening-night rosters are Canada (16 players), Australia (nine players), France (eight players), Croatia (seven players) and Serbia (six players). Canada saw a record six players selected in the NBA Draft 2019 presented by State Farm®, surpassing the previous record for most draftees from a non-U.S. country (five) set by France in 2016.
The Dallas Mavericks have an NBA-high seven international players. The Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers each have six, while the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards each have five.
The NBA’s 74th season begins tonight with a doubleheader on NBA League Pass as part of Kia NBA Tip-Off 2019. In the opening game, the defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors will host the New Orleans Pelicans at 2 a.m. CAT. In the second game, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the LA Clippers at 4:30 a.m. CAT.
In addition to the 108 international players on 2019-20 opening-night rosters, there are a record 11 international players from eight countries on “two-way” contracts.
A record 30 former Basketball Without Borders (BWB) campers are on opening-night rosters, surpassing the previous record of 28 set last season. Former BWB Africa campers include Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves; Senegal; BWB Africa 2009), Joel Embiid (76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012). BWB is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program that has seen 69 former campers drafted into the NBA or signed as free agents since 2001.