Top Spanish NBA Players

Basketball is undoubtedly one of the most popular sports in the United States; credit goes mostly to the NBA. The NBA has been entertaining the fans since 1946 by showcasing all the great players from across the globe, including Spain.

Like the US, the NBA is also quite popular in Spain, and the popularity has increased even more in the last few decades as more and more Spanish players are getting into the NBA. With their high level of skill, basketball IQ, playing style,  and work ethic, they have added a new flavor to the tournament.

There have been a number of fantastic players in the NBA till now. But who are the top 10 Spanish NBA players? Let’s find out.

Here Are the Top 10 Spanish NBA Players

Name Career Duration
Pau Gasol 2001 – 2019
Marc Gasol 2008 – 2021
Jose Calderon 2005 – 2019
Ricky Rubio 2011 – present
Sergio Rodríguez 2007 – 2017
Serge Ibaka 2009 – present
Rudy Fernandez 2009 – 2012
Fernando Martin 19867
Nikola Mirotic 2015 – 2019
Alex Abrines 2017 – 2019

1. Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol

Full name Pau Gasol Sáez
Date of birth July 6, 1980
Place of birth Barcelona, Spain
Height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Weight 250 lb (113 kg)
NBA Draft 2001, Round 1, 3rd overall (by the Atlanta Hawk)
Position Center / Power forward

Career Highlights

  • NBA Champion: 2 times (2009 and 2010)
  • NBA All-Star: 6 times (2006-2011)
  • NBA Rookie of the Year: 2002
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team: 2002
  • NBA Rebounding Leader: 2009

If you want to talk about Spanish NBA players, then there is only one starting point. And that is Pau Gasol. He is the first name that should come to your mind unless you do not follow the NBA regularly. He showed great skill and performance in Spain, and his name spread up to the United States.

Gasol won three Liga ACB championships before getting drafted into the NBA. He was the third overall pick in the 2001 draft. You can see how much confidence selectors have in him. The seven ft. tall giant was versatile, quick, and highly skillful.

What is so special about him? His whole NBA career. He is the first Spanish NBA player to become an NBA champion, a feat he achieved in  2009 with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Gasol made it into the NBA All-Star teams six times and earned All-NBA honors four times. No surprise that many consider him one of the greatest Spanish basketball players ever, and that certainly makes him number one among the top 10 Spanish NBA players.

Before retiring in 2019, Gasol played more than 1200 games, most by any Spanish player. His career stats also signifies his greatness.

Career Stats of Pau Gasol

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
1236 17.0 9.2 3.2 126.3 21.4

2. Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol

Full Name Marc Gasol
Date of Birth January 29, 1985
Place of Birth Barcelona, Spain
Height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Weight 255 lb (116 kg)
NBA Draft 2007, 2nd Round, 48th overall (by the Los Angeles Lakers)
Playing Position Center

Career Highlights

  • NBA Champion: 1 time (2019)
  • NBA All-Star: 3 times (2015, 2017, 2018)
  • All-NBA Second Team: 1 time (2015)
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year: 1 time (2013)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team: 3 times (2013, 2014, 2015)

About Marc Gasol

You can guess from the name that Marc Gasol comes from the same family as Pau Gasol. The junior Gasol was no less great on the field than his elder brother. He joined the NBA in 2007 when the  Los Angeles Lakers drafted him in the second round of the 2007 draft.

However, Marc did not get to play for the Lakers. Instead, he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. The junior Gasol was determined not to be overshadowed by his brother and wanted to make his own name, and he did that.

Gasol became the NBA champion with the Grizzlies in 2019. Besides, he was included in the NBA all-star team three times in his fourteen years career in the NBA. He had his best time in America in 2013, when he received the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Marc Gasol played a total of 891 games in the NBA and recorded an average of 14 points per game, and 3.5 assists, which earned him the second position in the list of the top 10 Spanish NBA players of all time.

Career Stats of Marc Gasol

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
891 14 7.4 3.5 85.3 18

3. Jose Calderon

Jose Calderon

Full name Jose Manuel Calderon
Date of birth September 28, 1981
Place of birth Villanueva de la Serena, Spain
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg)
NBA Draft Undrafted
Position Point guard

Career Highlights

  • NBA Sportsmanship Award: 1 time (2014)

About Jose Calderon

Jose Calderon also had a long career in the NBA. Though he did not have as much success as the Gasol brothers, he was noticed by the fans because of his scoring ability. Calderon really had a great shooting ability. In addition, he was a reliable playmaker and ball-handler.

Calderon was respected by both his teammates and opponents. And why was it so? He was an out-and-out gentleman. His professionalism and leadership are hard to match anyone. Calderon received the NBA sportsmanship award in 2014.

As mentioned earlier, Calderin used to be a great team player and a playmaker. His career stats will show you that he has a record of 5.8 assists per game on average, along with 63.2  win shares.

Career Stats of Jose Calderon

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
895 8.9 2.3 5.8 63.2 15.4

4. Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio

Full name Ricard Rubio Vives
Date of birth 21 October 1990
Place of birth El Masnou, Spain
Height  6 ft 2 in
Weight 190 lb 
NBA Draft 2009,  Round: 1,  Pick: 5th
Playing Position Point guard

Career Highlights

  • NBA All-Rookie First Team: 1 time (2012)

About Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio had many successes before joining the NBA. He won the EuroLeague, EuroCup, Liga ACB, and many other championships and so naturally got noticed by the NBA teams. Rubio was drafted in 2009. He was the 5th overall pick of that year’s draft.

However, he has not found much success in America yet. However, he showed great potential and became a part of the NBA all-star rookie first team in 2012. But that does not mean that he is not performing well.

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His stats will tell you that he has an average of 10.9 in scoring points and a 7+ assist average. As a point guard, he is doing his job pretty well.

Career Stats of Ricky Rubio

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
688 10.9 4.1 7.4 42.2 15.5

5. Sergio Rodríguez

Sergio Rodríguez

Full name Sergio Rodríguez Gómez
Date of birth 12 June 1986
Place of birth Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Height  6 ft 3 in
Weight 185 lb
NBA Draft 2006  (Round: 1, Pick: 27th Overall

Career Highlights

  • NBA Rookie of the Month: 1 time (December 2006)
  • Spanish King’s Cup MVP: 1 time (2014)

About Sergio Rodriguez

Sergio Rodriguez quickly became popular in Spain and then popularly reached out to the USA too. He was drafted into the NBA in 2006. But his transition from Europe to America did not go as expected. He found it difficult to shine in the NBA.

In six seasons, he played nearly 300 games and had 1.8 TRB, along with a 4.9 scoring average and a below-4 assist average. Rodrguez got frustrated as he was not getting many minutes in the game, and so he rejoined his original team Real Madrid.

Despite not having much success, he showcased some excellent performances occasionally, which makes him a part of the best Spanish NBA players ever.

Career Stats of Sergio Rodriguez

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
285 4.9 1.8 3.3 7.2 11.7

6. Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

Full name Serge Jonás Ibaka Ngobila
Date of birth 18 September 1989
Place of birth Brazzaville, PR Congo 
Height  6 ft 11 in
Weight 235 lb
NBA Draft 2008  (Round: 1, Pick: 24th overall)
Playing Position Power forward / Center

Career Highlights

  • NBA Champion: 1 time (2019)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team: 3 times (2012, 2013, 2014)
  • NBA Blocks Leader: 3 times (2012, 2013, 2014)

About Serge Ibaka

From his achievement list, you can see that there is a lot to talk about Serge Ibaka. He played in both Power forward and center positions. Ibaka was drafted into the NBA at the early age of 20. He has accomplished many things in the NBA.

Ibaka quickly came into the limelight through his defensive skills. He was named the NBA blocks leader for three consecutive years, from 2012 to 2014. He got drafted by the Toronto Raptors in 2017 and became one of their key players.

In 2019, Ibaka helped the Raptors win the NBA championship 2019. Now he is 35 and is actively playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Career Stats of Serge Ibaka

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
919 12.0 7.1 0.8 17.1 73.0

7. Rudy Fernandez

Rudy Fernandez

Full Name Rudy Fernandez
Date of Birth April 4, 1985
Place of Birth Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg)
NBA Draft 2007, 1st Round, 24th overall (by the Phoenix Suns)
Playing Position Shooting Guard/Small Forward

Career Highlights

  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team: 1 time (2009)
  • NBA Slam Dunk Contest Participant: 1 time (2009)

About Rudy Fernandez

If you follow European basketball, then you must know Rudy Fernandez. He is currently one of the most popular and accomplished stars there. But maybe you have forgotten that he was a part of the NBA for a few years.

Fernandez got drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 2007. There was high hope regarding him. Fernandez was not happy with his role in the team and wanted to play a bigger part. So he decided to return to Europe.

Nonetheless, his NBA career was not totally stale. He recorded something over nine points of average scoring from his 249 game appearances.

Career Stats of Rudy Fernandez

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
249 9.1 2.4 2.2 14.0 14.2

8. Fernando Martin

Fernando Martin

Full Name Fernando Martín Espina
Date of Birth March 25, 1962
Place of Birth Madrid, Spain
Height 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Weight 220 lb (100 kg)
NBA Draft 1985, 2nd Round, 38th overall (by the New Jersey Nets)
Playing Position Power Forward/Center

About Fernando Martin

The NBA started in 1946, and players from different countries began to participate in the competition. However, there were no Spanish players in the NBA till 1986. Finally, Martin became the first-ever Spanish player to compete in the NBA.

Martin had achieved everything in Spain and so wanted to have new challenges. And the NBA was happy to receive him with open arms. However, luck was not much in my favor. Martin dies in a car accident only after playing 24 games in the NBA.

It was very unfortunate that one of the finest Spanish basketball players got drafted into the NBA but could not showcase his magic. Nonetheless, the legend paved the way for the upcoming Spanish players to reach the NBA.

Career Stats of Fernando Martin

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
24 0.9 12 0.4 -0,9 -0.4

9. Nikola Mirotic

Nikola Mirotic

Full Name Nikola Mirotic
Date of Birth February 11, 1991
Place of Birth Podgorica, Montenegro
Height 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Weight 250 lb (113 kg)
NBA Draft 2011, 1st Round, 23rd overall (by the Houston Rockets)
Playing Position Power Forward/Small Forward

Career Highlights

  • NBA All-Rookie First Team: 1 time  (2015)

About Nikola Mirotc

Mirotic played a key role and helped the Milwaukee Bucks reach the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2019-20 NBA season. His NBA career began towards the end of 2014, and he remained active there till 2019.

Mirotic was a talented and skilled player, but his time in the NBA was not very pleasant. He was regularly suffering from injury and was not getting enough playing time. So, when he was offered a contract by Barcelona in 2019, he happily accepted and returned to Europe.

Career Stats of Nikola Mirotc

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
319 12.3 5.9 1.3 16.7 20.8

10. Alex Abrines

Alex Abrines

Full Name Alex Abrines
Date of Birth August 1, 1993
Place of Birth Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight 195 lb (88 kg)
NBA Draft 2013, 2nd Round, 32nd overall (by the Oklahoma City Thunder)
Playing Position Shooting Guard/Small Forward

Career Highlights

  • EuroLeague Champion: 1 time (2013)
  • Spanish League Champion: 1 time (2011)
  • Spanish Cup Winner: 1 time (2011)

Alex Abrines had a very short career in the NBA, though he showed all the potential to have a long career like Pau Gasol. The six and a half feet tall Spanish shooting guard scored a career-high 21 points against Atlanta Hawks.

Abrines was finding it difficult to suit himself with the new environment and his new teammates. Though he had some good moments occasionally, he failed to shine in most games. Soon, the Thunder gave up on him and waved him off.

Career Stats of Alex Abrines

Games Points Total Rebounds Assists Win Shares PER
174 5.3 1.4 0.6 4.7 10.3


These were our top 10 Spanish NBA players. You have noticed that most players found it difficult to suit a new continent. However, they still managed to bring their new playing style to the game, which helped the NBA have more versatility and gain more popularity.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports and Surprise Movies.


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