'Showcasing globality of our game': NBA welcomes Finals-record 13 international players for Celtics, Mavericks

Published June 8, 2024, 2:33 PMNBA.com Philippines Staff

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum lauded the global reach of the league, with a new Finals record of 13 international players competing for the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks.

There are 13 international players in the 2024 NBA Finals, surpassing the record of 10 set in 2013. | Art by Mitzi Solano/One Sports

There are a total of 13 international players competing for the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks in the 2024 NBA Finals, surpassing the previous record of 10 set in 2013 by the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.

The international players in this series are from Australia, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Latvia, Portugal, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

For the NBA, this just goes to show how global the league has become.

"For us, you know, it really just showcased the globality of our game," NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said in a call with the international media.

Boston Celtics

  • Oshae Brissett (Canada)
  • Al Horford (Dominican Republic)
  • Svi Mykhailiuk (Ukraine)
  • Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia)
  • Neemias Queta (Portugal)

Dallas Mavericks

  • Luka Doncic (Slovenia)
  • Danté Exum (Australia)
  • Josh Green (Australia; BWB Global 2018)
  • Kyrie Irving (Australia)
  • Maxi Kleber (Germany)
  • AJ Lawson (Canada; BWB Americas 2017; BWB Global 2018)
  • Dwight Powell (Canada)
  • Olivier-Maxence Prosper (Canada; BWB Americas 2019; BWB Global 2020; NBA Academy Latin America)

And it comes in the same year where all three finalists for the 2023-24 NBA Most Valuable Player award all hailed outside the United States: Canada's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Slovenia's Luka Doncic, and eventual winner Serbia's Nikola Jokic.

In fact, the winners of the last six MVP awards have all been international players: Jokic, Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Cameroon's Joel Embiid.

"Those players continue to draw live interest in not only their home countries, but quite frankly around the world because they bring a different style of play to the NBA. And I think our fans are fascinated by their different stories, by their different journeys. So I think it's incredible to have that depth of talent," Tatum added.

It also brings a compelling showcase as some of these players are set to compete later this year in the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

"When you think about basketball and how global basketball is right, our league is the one league where the best players in the world play, no matter where they're from," Tatum noted.

"But as global as the league has become, we truly believe that we're just scratching the surface of the potential for basketball and the NBA internationally," he added.

Here's the magnitude of the NBA's reach, especially the 2024 Finals.

Global Celebration

The 2024 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV will reach fans in 214 countries and territories in 60 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile devices and tablets.

Thirteen international television, digital and radio networks will provide live on-site commentary– from countries and regions including Brazil, the Balkans, China, France, Latin America and Spain – and the league and its partners will deliver in-language commentary and locally relevant Finals programming to fans around the world.

There will be league-organized watch parties in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore and South Africa, most of which will have NBA legends in attendance to interact with fans and conduct youth basketball clinics.

Global Reach

The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with more than 2.3 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team and player platforms, nearly 75% of whom are from outside the U.S.

Opening-night rosters this season featured a record 125 international players from 40 countries, including the three players who have combined to win the last six Kia NBA MVP awards: Nikola Jokic (DEN; Serbia), Joel Embiid (PHI; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL; Greece; ties to Nigeria).

The 2023-24 NBA season was the league’s most-watched globally in five years and generated several international viewership and consumption milestones, including:

  • Roughly 75% of NBA game telecast consumption came from outside the U.S.
  • A record 26 billion video views globally across NBA Social and the NBA App, including a record of more than 1 billion views across the league’s social and digital platforms in Europe and the Middle East.
  • The highest average League Pass viewership ever in Asia-Pacific.
  • Record total hours watched on measured streaming platforms in Brazil and Mexico.
  • Triple-digit growth in impressions, followers and video views on NBA Canada’s social media channels.
  • A 41% increase in average viewership of live game telecasts in Africa.