Which country comes to mind when you think of basketball? That’s right. USA.
I still can’t forget the 1992 Barcelona Olympics that I saw as a child. The United States, which gave away the gold medal to the Soviet Union in men’s basketball at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and only won a bronze medal, will compete in the Barcelona tournament four years later as a ‘dream team’ made up of NBA stars. 온라인바카라
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Chris Mullin, Clyde Drexler and Christian Leitner. Except for Laitner, who was at Duke University at the time, they were all living legends of the NBA.
The USA won the gold medal with an overwhelming performance, beating Lithuania by 51 points in the semi-final and Croatia by 32 points in the final. Even after that, the US men’s basketball did not miss the gold medal until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, except for the 2004 Athens Olympics, where Manu Ginobili led Argentina.
However, the pride of the United States, which is regarded as the absolute supreme of basketball, has recently been damaged. In the NBA, the highest stage, the season MVP has been given to Europe for the last four years.
Greek national Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) won MVP honors in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons. In the 2020-2021 season and the 2021-2022 season, Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) from Serbia was voted MVP for two consecutive years.
The NBA selects the first team, meaning the league’s best five, every season. In the last two seasons, Antetokounmpo, Jokic and Slovenia’s Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) have been named to the first team.
In other words, when the league picked the best 5 players in a season, there were 3 Europeans, more than Americans (2). Now, in the NBA, European players are becoming the main pillars of the league, not sidekicks next to American stars. It also means that the globalization that the NBA has been promoting for 20 years is seeing the light.
Even in the NBA this season, the momentum of the Europeans is unstoppable. Giannis and Jokic are running ahead and behind in the season MVP race. Let’s take a look at the European stars who changed the NBA game.