The 6 Best Spanish NBA Players 2024: You Need to Know

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When you think of the NBA, it’s not just about American basketball stars; Spanish NBA players have made quite an impact as well. Spain has produced some exceptional talent over the years, bringing a unique flair and skill set to the league.

These athletes have left their mark on the basketball world, from impressive rookies to seasoned veterans. These athletes have not only broken records and earned accolades, but also inspired countless fans with their passion for basketball.

The 6 Best Spanish NBA Players

Fernando Martín

Fernando Martín, born in 1962 in Madrid, Spain, was the first Spaniard to join an NBA team in the 1980s. Martín played for the Spanish national team from 1979 to 1989; an instrumental figure in Spanish basketball, earning a silver medal at the 1985 EuroBasket tournament.

In 1990, he made history by moving to the United States and signing with the Portland Trail Blazers for a short-lived tenure. Despite the brevity of his NBA career, Martín remains an iconic figure for aspiring Spanish NBA players.

Pau Gasol

Another remarkable Spanish NBA player, Pau Gasol, entered the league in 2001 when the Atlanta Hawks drafted him but quickly traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Gasol made an impressive debut as the first European player to claim the NBA Rookie of the Year award.

Pau Gasol became known throughout his career for his versatility and exceptional skill set. As a six-time NBA All-Star, Pau is often cited as one of the most successful Spanish NBA players. He played for several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won two championships alongside Kobe Bryant in 2009 and 2010.

Current Spanish NBA Stars

Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol, a seasoned veteran in the NBA, has had an illustrious career playing for teams like the Memphis Grizzlies. With his solid presence in the paint and incredible basketball IQ, Gasol has been a valuable asset to his team.

Standing at 7 feet tall and weighing 255 pounds, his size, and skillset have been essential to his success in the league. Despite being in the latter stage of his career, Marc Gasol continues to contribute and be a leader on the court.

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio, a point guard known for his flashy passes and quick hands-on defense, has been playing in the NBA for over a decade. Rubio is known for his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves and is currently part of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

At 6 feet 4 inches tall and 190 pounds, Rubio has demonstrated exceptional playmaking abilities throughout his career, earning him the admiration of fans and fellow players.

Sergio Rodríguez

Sergio Rodríguez, also known as “El Chacho,” is an experienced point guard who has spent time in the NBA playing for teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers. Rodríguez’s time in the league has been brief compared to other Spanish NBA stars, but his offensive creativity and impressive court vision have earned him a respectable reputation.

At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 180 pounds, Rodríguez has showcased versatility in adapting to different roles within the team.

Santi Aldama

Santi Aldama, a promising young talent from Spain, is beginning to make a name for himself in the NBA. The 6 feet 11 inches tall and 215-pound forward has shown potential as a versatile player with impressive shooting and passing abilities.

As Aldama progresses in his NBA journey, we can expect him to significantly impact the league and follow in the footsteps of other successful Spanish NBA stars.

These Spanish NBA players have continued inspiring fans and fellow athletes with their skill and determination. As they keep contributing to their respective teams, fans around the globe can look forward to their incredible performances on the court for years to come.

Prominent Spanish NBA Players and Their Teams

Memphis Grizzlies had the fortune of having two great Spanish players in their roster – Pau and Marc Gasol. The Gasol brothers are considered among the best basketball players from Spain. Pau played for the Grizzlies from 2001 to 2008 before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, while Marc, joining the team in 2008, contributed significantly to the Grizzlies’ success for many years.

Oklahoma City Thunder fans appreciate the skills of Spanish player Serge Ibaka, who played for the team from 2009 to 2016. Ibaka has been a strong frontcourt defender and rim protector, helping the Thunder reach the NBA Finals in 2012.

Spanish players have also left their mark on European basketball, with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona having had numerous Spanish NBA players in their ranks. Some of these players, like Ricky Rubio and Nikola Mirotic, became successful NBA players, with the former now playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Over in Detroit, the Detroit Pistons recently signed Spanish player Luka Garza in 2021. Garza, named the Naismith College Player of the Year in 2021, has shown potential to grow into a valuable player for the Pistons.

Finally, the San Antonio Spurs have long been known for their international scouting and player development. The Spurs’ roster has featured several notable Spanish players like Jose Calderon and Pau Gasol during different stages of their careers.

Position Specifics of Spanish NBA Players


Spanish centers are known for their strong defensive presence, excellent rebounding skills, and shot-blocking abilities. They often have a high basketball IQ, allowing them to make smart plays on both ends of the floor. An example of a notable Spanish center is Marc Gasol, who has had a successful NBA career and played a crucial role in the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA Championship victory.


You’ll find that Spanish forwards display versatility on the court, often playing as both small forwards and power forwards. These players are typically intense shooters and can stretch the floor with their three-point capabilities. Some Spanish forwards, like Ibaka and Juancho Hernangómez, are known for their athleticism and ability to impact both offense and defense.


Spanish guards, such as point guards and shooting guards, are often praised for their playmaking abilities and court vision. Their strategic mindset, quick ball-handling skills, and accurate shooting make them valuable assets to their teams. One well-known Spanish guard is Ricky Rubio, who has consistently been among the top assist leaders in the league since his rookie season.

Accomplishments of Spanish NBA Players

Spain has undoubtedly produced remarkable NBA talent, positively impacting various teams and the league. Prominent figures like Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, and Ricky Rubio have left an indelible mark, garnering All-Star selections and other accolades throughout their careers.

Pau Gasol is a six-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA champion, and was selected to the All-NBA Second Team twice and All-NBA Third Team twice. His younger brother, Marc Gasol, is a three-time NBA All-Star, NBA champion, and was awarded the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.

Ricky Rubio, another Spanish standout, has also made impressive strides in the NBA. Known for his exceptional playmaking skills, Rubio has consistently ranked high in the league for assists per game (APG) and steals per game (SPG).

Besides their numerous individual honors, Spanish NBA players have significantly contributed to their national team’s success. Players like Pau and Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and José Calderón have all been part of the Spain men’s national basketball team, earning Olympic and FIBA World Cup medals. Spain has won two FIBA World Cup titles (2006 and 2019) and three Olympic silver medals (1984, 2008, and 2012), along with a bronze medal in 2016, largely due to the contributions of their NBA stars.

While statistics such as points per game (PPG), rebounds per game (RPG), and blocks per game (BPG) offer numerical evidence of their impact, it’s essential to recognize the influence these Spanish NBA players have had beyond the numbers. Their passion, dedication, and style of play are often a testament to their heritage and have inspired future generations of Spanish basketball players to follow in their footsteps.

Spanish NBA Players In International Competitions

The involvement of Spanish NBA players in the national team has been instrumental in Spain’s success in international competitions. They’ve had remarkable achievements, such as winning three EuroBasket championships in 2009, 2011, and 2015. In these competitions, players like Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and Marc Gasol have become household names for their exceptional skills and contributions to Spain’s victories.

In addition to their EuroBasket successes, Spanish NBA players have also played pivotal roles in Olympic basketball tournaments. Spain took home the silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, with stand-out performances from Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez, and Jose Calderon. More recently, in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Spain reached the quarterfinals, showcasing their continued prowess on the international stage.

The long-standing participation of Spanish NBA athletes in these global events not only enhances the competitiveness of Spain’s national team but also elevates the players’ talents. By competing against other world-class athletes, they can hone their skills, elevate their gameplay, and ultimately give you, the fans, thrilling basketball experiences to enjoy.

NBA Draft and Spanish Players

spanish nba players

From the first Spanish player being drafted in 1985, the NBA has witnessed a significant increase in the number of players hailing from Spain. Since then, 18 Spanish-born players have been selected in the NBA drafts1. This number might not seem like a lot, but considering the global nature of the league, it’s a significant representation of the nation’s basketball prowess.

Players like Pau Gasol have impacted the NBA, achieving great success and winning NBA championships. His remarkable career and outstanding performances have paved the way for other talented Spanish athletes to enter the league and make their presence known2.


  1. ¿Qué jugadores españoles han sido elegidos en el NBA Draft?
  2. NBA Draft 2021: Top international prospects |

Spanish NBA Players Stats

Regarding scoring, Spanish NBA players have some impressive numbers under their belts. For instance, Pau Gasol boasts an impressive career average of 17.0 points per game (PPG), while Marc Gasol, his younger brother, has a solid 14.6 PPG. Both brothers also excel in rebounding, with Pau at 9.2 rebounds per game (RPG) and Marc at 7.6 RPG.

Another fantastic Spanish player is Ricky Rubio, who stands out for his passing abilities. With an assist per game (APG) average of 7.8, Rubio is a master facilitator for his teammates. Not only that, but he also contributes to his team’s defense by securing 2.2 steals per game (SPG).

Now, if you’re curious about the size of Spanish players, you’ll find that they come in various heights, with some towering over the competition. For example, the Gasol brothers stand 7 feet (2.13 meters) and 6 feet 11 inches (2.11 meters) tall, respectively. On the other hand, players like Juancho Hernangómez and Álex Abrines measure around the 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 meters) mark, making them versatile forwards on the court.

Regarding blocked shots, Serge Ibaka, a player of the Spanish national team, has been one of the most consistent in the league. With an impressive 2.6 blocks per game (BPG) throughout his career, Ibaka has proven to be a formidable obstacle for opposing offenses, effectively protecting the rim.

Spanish NBA Players News and Rumors

If you’re a fan of Spanish NBA players, you’ll be excited to know that quite a few of them are making an impact in the league right now. In the 2022-2023 season, there were a total of 6 Spanish players participating in the NBA, showcasing their talent and skills on the world’s biggest stage.

One of the most recent rumors that caught the attention of Spanish NBA fans is the possible role changes and contract negotiations involving some of the Spanish players. Remember that the NBA constantly evolves, so trade possibilities and new team deals can emerge at any moment.

In addition to keeping tabs on the current Spanish NBA players, you need to stay informed about upcoming talents who could join the league shortly. Players like Usman Garuba and Carlos Alocén are just a couple of examples of young Spanish players who have been making a name for themselves and might soon take the next step in their basketball careers.

List of Spanish NBA Players

One of the most famous Spanish players is Pau Gasol, who has had an incredible career in the NBA, winning two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. His brother, Marc Gasol, is also well-known in the league, having won an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors. These two brothers are prime examples of Spanish talent in the NBA.

Another notable player from Spain is the dynamic point guard Ricky Rubio. Known for his flashy passes and exceptional court vision, Rubio has showcased his playmaking abilities for multiple NBA teams.

We have Santi Aldama, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, among the younger Spanish NBA players. He is a young, promising talent developing his skills in the league.

Currently, 21 players from Spain have found their way into the NBA. Some other noteworthy names include:

  • Juancho Hernangómez
  • Willy Hernangómez
  • Álex Abrines
  • Sergi Llull

My Personal Opinion

In my opinion, the impact of the 6 Best Spanish NBA Players on the basketball world cannot be overstated.

Their remarkable talent and unwavering commitment have raised the level of play in the NBA and inspired countless aspiring players, both in Spain and around the globe. Watching them on the court is a testament to their skill, teamwork, and dedication to the sport they love.

These players have achieved individual success and contributed to the growth and popularity of basketball in Spain, leaving an indelible mark on the game’s history.


Are there any Latinos in the NBA?

Dominican Republic’s Al Horford is a member of the Boston Celtics. An incredible fact about this player is that he is the highest paid Latino basketball player in the NBA today. He has been part of the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics (from 2016 to 2019 and again from 2021), Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Why is Spain so good at basketball?

In Spain, the coaches – who must all be certified by the Spanish Basketball Federation – instil high levels of basic skill and game knowledge on their players, and rely less on their natural talent. This means that Spanish players who make it to the top are tactically astute, and very disciplined

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Fabian Kühar
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