It’s July 14, Bastille Day, the French National Day. To celebrate la Fête nationale, we selected the top 5 NBA players born in France. They didn’t have to be actually French to make the list. Example: Tony Parker isn’t on the list. He was born in Belgium.
5. Evan Fournier
Fournier might be known for his last name being a quite nasty disease, but the 24-year old swingman has a good chance to be ranked a lot higher when we make the list another time. Through five NBA seasons, beginning in Denver and now playing for the Orlando Magic, he has averaged 12.3 points while shooting 37.9% from three. A young star in France before joining the NBA in 2012, he averaged 17.2 points a night with the Magic last season, and is locked in a $17 million per season deal through 2020-2021. He has a bronze medal with France in the 2014 FIBA world cup and a bronze medal from the 2015 Eurobasket.
4. Rudy Gobert
At 25, with 4 NBA seasons behind him, Gobert might already be the best defensive player in the league. The Utah Jazz center averaged 14 points, 12.8 rebounds and an NBA-best 2.6 blocks per game last season. The Jazz have him locked up through 2020-2021, and he’ll make $94 million over the next four seasons. Gobert has two bronze medals like Fournier from the same tournaments, and also played in the 2016 Olympics, where France finished 6th.
3. Nicolas Batum
After 9 seasons in the NBA, it’s safe to say Batum is never going to become the next Scottie Pippen. He has, however, done quite well for himself as a terrific two-way player, doing well in a bigger role with the Charlotte Hornets after 7 seasons in Portland. He has averaged 15 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game since joining Charlotte in 2015. He has been playing for the French national team before Gobert and Fournier, earning a silver medal in the 2011 Eurobasket and leading France to gold in 2013. He also played with the team in the 2012 Olympics, finishing 6th.
2. Boris Diaw
An NBA champion with the Spurs in 2014, Diaw has been in the NBA since 2003, playing for the Hawks, Suns, Hornets, Spurs and Jazz. Now he’s a free agent. One of the more versatile big men to play in the league over the last 15 years, Diaw played a key part on both ends of the floor for the Spurs during their runs to the NBA finals in 2013 and 2014, but last season in Utah was a sign that his time in the NBA might be coming to an end. He has a career average of 8.6 points per game. Diaw has the same medal count as Batum and also a bronze medal from the 2005 Eurobasket.
1. Dominique Wilkins
Born in France because his American father was stationed there during his service, Wilkins is the only non-French player on the list, winning the 1994 FIBA world cup alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Joe Dumars, Shawn Kemp and Reggie Miller. An NBA Hall of Famer, Wilkins was a 9-time All-Star, 7-time All-NBA team selection and one of the most electrifying scorers in NBA history, scoring 26,668 points throughout his career, averaging 25.2 points per game. He never made it past the conference semifinal during his time with the Hawks (or anyone else), but does have a title in Europe, winning the Euroleague in 1996 with Panathinaikos.