Marciulionis key to international infusion in NBA

Back in the 80s, you could count how many international players were in the NBA on one hand. Now you need two hands just to count how many are on one team. It’s clear the NBA has changed for good since the infusion of talent from overseas.

While former Golden State Warriors guard Sarunas Marciulionis may not have been the first European-born player to come stateside and play in the NBA, he was key in paving the way for other European players.

Apparently so much so that San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker’s father told Marciulionis he should be receiving a little kickback from new contracts signed, according to Eurohoops.net via their Twitter account.

The Spurs have definitely benefited from the infusion of international players and started drafting European players very early on and became trendsetters in the league for scouting and plucking overseas talent in the draft and free agency.

Currently, the Spurs roster is peppered with international players. Of the 14-man roster, nine are international players, including Cory Joseph, who was born in Canada.

While I doubt today’s international players would want to give up even that five percent, it’s clear Marciulionis along with several other early players paved the way along with former Warriors coach Don Nelson and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

And in case you forgot or never seen Sarunas in action, he was quite the player and one of the originators of the "Euro-step."

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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