FIBA WORLD CUP
US-born NBA players playing for other national teams at the FIBA World Cup: Towns, Anderson...
In the FIBA World Cup, there are National Basketball Association players who were born in the US but are playing for different national teams.
Karl-Anthony Towns, who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA, is a dual citizen and has represented the Dominican Republic in international basketball competitions. After over a decade, he’s decided to play for them again this summer. According to a recent ESPN report, Towns feels the timing is right, and he feels great. He also felt an urgency to represent his Dominican heritage again, especially after his mother’s passing.
Jordan Clarkson, a Filipino-American basketball player, had the honor to represent the Philippines in the Asian Qualifiers for the FIBA World Cup. His eligibility to play for the Philippines was due to his Filipino passport, which he obtained through his maternal grandmother.
Born on June 7, 1992, in San Antonio, Texas, Clarkson played college basketball at the University of Tulsa. He was then selected by the Washington Wizards as the 46th pick in the 2014 NBA draft but was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on draft night.
After playing for the Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Denver Nuggets, Clarkson currently plays for the Utah Jazz. He has been significantly contributing to their successful performance in the 2020-2021 NBA season.
Anderson, whose Chinese name is Li Kaier, was born on October 13, 1996, in North Bergen, New Jersey. He grew up playing basketball and attended the University of California (UCLA), where he played for the Bruins.
In 2019, Anderson became eligible for Chinese citizenship great-grandfather was born in China. He obtained his passport and began playing for China’s national basketball team in the same year. He is the first naturalized citizen to play for the team.
Anderson is currently playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. He was drafted in the second round of the 2018 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and later traded to the Timberwolves. He is a small forward known for his athleticism and defensive skills.
Matisse Thybulle, a native of Arizona, relocated to Australia with his family at the tender age of two. While residing in Sydney for a while, his interests mainly revolved around swimming rather than basketball. Subsequently, he relocated back to the United States, settling in the suburbs of Seattle with his family. Today, he is a proud member of both the Australian National Team and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Tyrese Jones, a talented basketball player, was awarded the NBA G League Most Valuable Player (MVP) title last season. He also led the league in scoring, cementing his position as one of the most promising players in the NBA. Currently, Jones is playing for the Chicago Bulls and represents South Sudan internationally for the first time this summer.
Jones was born in Ohio, where he developed his love for basketball. His skills and passion for the sport earned him a spot on the Chicago Bulls roster. Known for his speed, agility, and scoring ability, Jones has become a valuable player for his team.
In addition to his achievements in the NBA, Jones is proud to represent his home country, South Sudan. This summer, he will be playing for the South Sudanese national team, showcasing his talent on an international stage.
Quinones hails from the Dominican Republic and currently boasts a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. Born in New Jersey, he was named the Most Improved Player in the NBA G League during the previous season - an achievement that earned him a coveted deal with the Warriors. His impressive display in the NBA Plate Number 1 Summer League further cemented his place in the team. In 2018, he also had the honor of representing the Dominican Republic during the FIBA U18 Americas Championship.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was a first-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He played for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2020-21 season. He was born in Pennsylvania. Recently, he became a naturalized player for the Jordan national team. Hollis-Jefferson won a championship in the Philippines Basketball Association in 2023.
During the 2019-20 season, Omari Spellman played for the Golden State Warriors after being drafted in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. Originally from Ohio, Spellman recently achieved a championship win in the Korean Basketball League. Due to his significant contributions to Lebanon, he was granted honorary citizenship following several months of negotiations earlier this year.
Adam Waters, a talented basketball player hailing from Connecticut, proudly represents Puerto Rico on the court. His impressive skills have earned him a spot on the Washington Wizards team for the 2021-22 season. Waters has made waves in basketball, showcasing his talents as a point guard on Metropolitans 92 and winning a championship in the Puerto Rican BSN league. In recognition of his hard work and dedication, Waters was named the NBA G League Rookie of the Year in 2020. Recently, he even competed in the FIBA AmeriCup 2022 and the Americas Qualifiers.
John Holland, a talented basketball player and former forward for Boston University, has been a valuable member of the Puerto Rican national team for more than ten years. Born in New York and having played for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2019-20 NBA season, Holland brings a wealth of experience to the court. While this marks his first time competing in the World Cup, Holland has an impressive track record, having recently contributed to his team’s victory in the Serbian League championship.