NBA : From Barça they made the leap to the NBA and returned to Europe


Alex Madrid /

The Barcelona route-NBA-Europe can be classified as a tradition, being Pau Gasol the last on the list of players who left Barça to play in the NBA and later in their careers returned, either to the Catalan team itself, or to another European club.

On the occasion of the signing of Pau by Barça, we review the most outstanding cases of the players who made that journey.

Ni Juan Carlos Navarro and neither his „heir“, Alex AbrinesThey were able to play a long time away from Barcelona, ​​especially La Bomba.

Navarro went to the NBA at the age of 27, after 10 years wearing the Barça shirt. Playing much of the season alongside Gasol on the Grizzlies he averaged 10.9 points in 80 appearances. He came back and broke all the Euroleague records.

Abrines stayed longer in the NBA. Three years, to be exact, with the Oklahoma City Thunder. As happened to Navarro, Barça’s comfort was key in his return.

We will see if the next NBA to choose Barcelona to continue his career is Mario Hezonja. The Barça club will have the rights to the Croatian forward next summer, who signed with Panathinaikos this Monday until the end of the season. The Barça youth squad chose Greece as a destination to continue his career, as did his former teammate Kostas Papanikolau a few years before. The now Olympiacos player made the jump to the Houston Rockets from Barça before returning to Piraeus.

Not only the youngest ones saw the opportunity to play in the NBA after wearing a blaugrana. Touching thirty, David Andersen had already raised three Euroleague. He could have won one more European title, but he decided to accept the Rockets’ offer and play a couple of seasons in the United States. At 32 years old, Marcelinho Huertas He got the call from the Lakers to play alongside Kobe Bryant. The Brazilian point guard played two seasons in Los Angeles, having the opportunity to experience the farewell to the Black Mamba firsthand.

Like Marcelinho, Tibor Pleiss Barcelona also arrived from Baskonia. He would later sign for the Utah Jazz in what was practically a round trip.

Let’s go back a bit more in time, with the Australian David Andersen who made a career at Virtus (Kinder) Bologna with whom he was proclaimed European champion, CSKA as Theodore Papaloukas partner with two other titles in the Euroleague, but through the Barcelona made its reality show to play in the NBA. He played two seasons there and returned to European and later Australian stadiums.

Pau Gasol is the latest to join a list in which we do not include those who played in the NBA and later used Barça as a springboard to return to the best league in the world. Players like Joey Dorsey, Alex Acker, Shammond Williams, Xavier Munford or, going much further back in time, David Wood.

Of course, be very careful because this article could be updated in a few years with a good handful of names that would meet the requirements: Ricky Rubio, Tomas Satoransky, Rodions Kuruks and Ersan Ilyasova, you can continue to restore greatness to the Euroleague.

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