Getting out of your comfort zone is always difficult, even for immeasurable sports talents. This can be witnessed by some European players who, having tasted glory in their national competitions and Euroleague and enjoying great recognition in the old continent, decided to try their luck in the NBA. It is curious to see that the same profile is repeatedly repeated between the european legends who failed to establish themselves in the United States: outside players, with enormous intelligence on the court, high scoring flow, winning gene and who did not stand out for their physique. These are the 10 great European players who could not perform at their level and consolidate in the NBA.
Zan Tabak; 1994/95 at Houston Rockets, 1995-1998 at Toronto Raptors, 1999 at Boston Celtics and 1999-2001 at Indiana Pacers.
Antoine Rigodeau; 2003 at Dallas Mavericks
Sarunas Jasikevicius; 2005-2007 at the Indiana Pacers and 2007 at the Golden State Warriors
Juan Carlos Navarro; 2007/08 at the Memphis Grizzlies
Vasilis Spanouilis; 2006/07 at Houston Rockets
Nando de Colo; 2012-2014 at San Antonio Spurs and 2014 at Toronto Raptors
Alexey Shved; 2012-2014 at Minnesota Timberwolves, 2014 at Philadelphia 76ers, 2014/15 at Houston Rockets and 2015 at New York Knicks
Nick Calathes; 2013-2015 at Memphis Grizzlies
But Antic; 2013-2015 at Atlanta Hawks
Milos Theodosic; 2017-2019 at Los Angeles Clippers
It should be noted that Zan Tabak became NBA champion with the Rockets in 1995, although playing a secondary role, which allowed him to participate in 37 games. He was one of those who left younger, at a time when the prestige of European basketball was not yet important. In the United States, the intangibles contributed by players such as most of the aforementioned have been increasingly valued; exteriors with good scoring flow, in the case of one, and stars like playmakers, in others.
Navarro was one of those who had a better season and enjoyed more opportunities, while Antic became a starter with some Hawks who trusted him as an open 4. However, all of them ended up returning to Europe, looking for the warmth of the known and with the desire to feel competitive again in clubs that were fighting for glory. The hierarchy in the NBA is very different from Europe and not everyone adapts easily.