• Monday, June 05, 2023


Top Asian Players in the NBA

By: Admin Super

Although Asians only represent a small percentage of past and present NBA players, those that have made it to the league have had a significant impact. Predicting who will win a game and betting on their favorite teams is one way in which fans participate in this sport. Sportsbooks like Skybet have free offers and promotions to new clients, allowing them to get a taste of the action. With the NBA developing new talent in Asia, we can expect to see more players of Asian descent become the favorites for all-star and MVPs status.

As the NBA expands its search for talent overseas, it has opened training centers in Asian countries, including China and India. The increased NBA presence has thrilled NBA lovers, especially as some hometown stars have already made it big playing basketball at the highest level. With the NBA draft right around the corner, many wonder if new Asian talent will enter the league in the upcoming season. Keep reading to learn about some of the top Asian players to ever play in the NBA.

Yao Ming, Houston Rockets 2002-2011

If you’re an NBA fan, you’re familiar with the name Yao Ming. Ming has gained fame not only as the best ever Asian player in the league, but also as one of the best players of any nationality to ever play basketball. Nobody knew how Ming would perform when the Houston Rockets drafted him as the number one pick in 2002. However, he wasted no time proving his worth, using his 7’6″ stature to dominate players on the court, and showing how his footwork and post-up moves make him almost unstoppable. 

Even Shaquille O’Neal was left in awe of Ming’s size, saying he jumped as high as he could, but Ming was still able to shoot a fade away over him by about three feet. Ming was an eight-time NBA All-Star and went to the playoffs four times. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by injury, so he never reached his full potential.

Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz

Jordan Clarkson is arguably the best player of Asian descent in the league today. When he entered the league, there weren’t high expectations for the Filipino-American player, who was picked 46th overall in the 2nd round of the 2014 NBA draft. However, Clarkson quickly went to work, dribbling his way to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, a rare achievement for a second-round draft pick. 

Clarkson just finished his eight-season in the NBA and has averaged double-digits during his entire career. The Dallas Mavericks eliminated the Jazz in the first round of this year’s playoffs. Nevertheless, Clarkson was key in leading the team over the past year. Before landing in Utah, he played for the LA Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Yuta Watanabe, Toronto Raptors

Few people think of Japan when they think of professional basketball. However, the country has produced a couple of formidable players that have flown under the radar. Yuta Watanabe is one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Japan. George Washington University recruited the gifted young player, making him the first Japanese-born player to receive a Division I scholarship. 

He averaged 16 points his senior year at George Washington University, taking home the Atlantic-10 Defensive Player of the Year Award and attracting the attention of the NBA. However, Watanabe’s dreams were dashed when he wasn’t selected in the NBA draft. Ultimately, he signed a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies and performed well in the Summer League. He played with the Grizzlies for two years before joining the Raptors. 

Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards star Rui Hachimura is only the second Japan-born player to sign an NBA contract. Hachimura grew up in Japan, moving to the United States to play for the Gonzaga Bulldogs in 2016. He performed well in college, winning the WCC Player of the Year award in his junior season. He skipped his senior year to enter the 2019 NBA draft, and the Wizards selected him as the ninth overall pick. He’s averaged 14 points and six rebounds during his time in the NBA.


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