February 2, 2018
The NBA concludes another successful NBA London Game as the Celtics triumph over the Sixers in a closely-fought contest.
In a country traditionally enamored with the other ‘beautiful game’, the NBA has managed to win over casual fans and fanatics alike as they hosted the eighth edition of the NBA London Games, as part of the NBA Global Games initiative. Amidst the Big Ben, the London Eye and the O2 Arena, the international flavor of the game was prominent off the court, but even stronger on court.
Here’s a look at some of the more interesting journeys taken by the players in action, en route to the United Kingdom.
Ben Simmons (Australia): The versatile Melbourne native took up a scholarship at the famed Australian Institute of Sports (which produced other Aussie greats like Andrew Bogut, Lauren Jackson and Luc Longley) before heading stateside to play for Montverde Academy. After winning every imaginable accolade, he proceeded to suit up for LSU before becoming the first overall draft pick of the Sixers in 2016.
AlHorford (Dominican Republic): As the son of Dominican legend Tito Horford, Al Horford grew up in his hometown before his family moved to Michigan, where he played for his high school. After an impressive prep career, he then played a starring role for the Florida Gators with fellow NBA veterans Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah as they captured back-to-back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007. He eventually started his career as the lottery pick of the Atlanta Hawks where he played most of his career, before moving to the Celtics.
Dario Šarić (Croatia): The big Croatian was one of Europe’s most sought-after young talents and dominated the court for the storied KK Zagreb and Cibona franchises in Croatia before making his EuroLeague debut for Anadolu Efes. He won back-to-back FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year Awards as well as the Adriatic League MVP at the tender age of 20. Still only 23-year old, Šarić has emerged as one of the most promising international talents in the NBA as he grows into his role with the equally-young Sixers squad.
Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot (France): One of the more interesting names in the NBA has a similarly interesting back-story. The man from Cannes was considered a bit of a mystery prospect in the States but not in Serbia, where he plied his trade for Mega Leks in the Adriatic League. Mega Leks is a renowned young team focused on player development, with multiple players being drafted to the NBA in recent years, including Nikola Jović and Ivica Zubac. Luwawu-Cabarrot followed suit when he was picked up in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Sixers and will be eager for the opportunity to show his talent for his team in the current season.
Guerschon Yabusele (France): The young Frenchman has already travelled halfway around the world on his basketball journey, playing for Chorale Roanne Basket and then Rouen Métropole Basket in his homeland before joining Jimmer Fredette and the Shanghai Sharks in China, where he became an All-Star in his lone season. Since arriving in Boston, Yabusele has split his time between the Boston Celtics and their G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, where the unique combination of his size and shooting touch have earned him the nickname ‘Dancing Bear’.
Article written by Wong Chin Yi. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the NBA.