Some NBA players' careers end in weird ways, or they need some boost in the middle of their careers to get them back in the big leagues. Not all players play their whole career in the NBA though; basketball is one of the biggest sports in the world, which leads to many teams all over the world. When players can't find a team in the NBA, some players take their talents overseas to countries such as Puerto Rico or Spain or China just to name a few. Players have used overseas basketball to help change their careers and get back in the NBA, such as Michael Beasley, JR Smith, and many others. Some players end their careers in with overseas teams such as my favorite player of all time, Allen Iverson, who last played with the Turkish basketball team Beşiktaş.
We all have the friend that tells us that this former player is still playing basketball and we have to look it up because we haven't seen them in the NBA in years, and here is a list that can prove some of those. This list consists of 15 former NBA players that are incredibly still playing basketball overseas. This lists only counts players that have played the previous or current season somewhere not in the NBA, and does not count players that have since signed with any NBA franchise.
15 Josh Smith - Sichuan Blue Whales
Josh Smith has had a pretty good NBA career when you look at it as a whole; he was never an All-Star but still a talented forward for the Atlanta Hawks for years. Smith came out of high school straight to the NBA, and though he wasn’t a crazy high school prospect like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, he was still drafted 17th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. Smith was always a talented defensive player for the Hawks and even won the 2005 NBA dunk contest after earning a perfect dunk score. After leaving Atlanta for Detroit in 2013, he didn’t play as well as many predicted and went to Houston and then Los Angeles (the Clippers) and back to Houston.
Smith then went overseas to play for Sichuan Blue Whales and scored 41 points in a game in his second game before leaving the team in January and leaving fans wondering where he will go next. The Cavaliers have reportedly had interest, so maybe next year, Smith will get a shot in the NBA again.
14 Chase Budinger - Baskonia
Chase Budinger had a decent NBA career for a player drafted in the 2nd round. Budinger was a great prospect coming out of high school, having been named California Mr. Basketball in 2006 and winning MVP at the 2006 McDonald's All-American Game. Budinger chose Arizona over big California schools like UCLA, Cal, and USC, and after three seasons with the Wildcats was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 2nd round in 2009 and then traded to the Houston Rockets that night. In 2012, Budinger did not re-sign with the Rockets and chose to go to Minnesota to play for the Timberwolves. Budinger then finished his NBA career with Indiana and Phoenix.
In 2015, Budinger is now playing basketball overseas in Spain with Baskonia, teaming up with the next person on this list.
13 Carlos Boozer - Guangdong Southern Tigers
Carlos Boozer had a successful NBA career, and he started it out coming off a NCAA National Championship with the Duke Blue Devils in 2001. Drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2002 NBA Draft, Boozer would impress, but it wasn’t until Boozer landed with the Utah Jazz where he found his place. In Utah, the PF was named to two All-Star appearances, having his best season in 2007-2008 by averaging 21.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and averaging his highest steal total with 1.2 SPG.
After four solid years with the Chicago Bulls and 0ne season with the Lakers, Boozer signed with the Chinese Basketball Association, joining the Guangdong Southern Tigers alongside Yi Jianlian. Unfortunately, just as an NBA Championship has eluded Boozer's grasp, so has the CBA Championship as the Southern Tigers were swept in the CBA Finals to Andray Blatche's Xinjiang Flying Tigers. Boozer still has a gold medal in his trophy cabinet for being a part of Team USA in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
12 Shane Larkin - Baskonia
The son of the legendary Cincinnati Reds shortstop, Barry Larkin, Shane Larkin became a name college basketball fans knew through his days at the University of Miami, winning the ACC Player of the Year (voted by coaches, the media voted for Erik Green) in 2013. Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks 18th-overall and then traded to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2013 NBA Draft, Larkin played half the season with Dallas and half the season with the D-League team Texas Legends. Larkin was traded to the New York Knicks the next season and in 2015, signed with the team next door – the Brooklyn Nets.
Shane Larkin joined up with Chase Budinger to go to the Spanish team Baskonia in the summer of 2016. Baskonia finished the season second in the league behind Real Madrid.
11 JJ Hickson - Fujian Sturgeons
JJ Hickson at one time was a useful piece with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, that was when the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the worst NBA teams in the league. Drafted 19th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft out of NC State, Hickson never seemed good enough to be the type of player the Cavs drafted, and found himself playing in Israel in 2011 during the NBA lockout, till he signed with the Sacramento Kings after the Cavs traded him. Hickson’s best season in the NBA was during the 2012-2013 season for the Portland Trail Blazers. He then bounced around to the Denver Nuggets (playing three seasons) and to the Washington Wizards before going back to international play, playing for the Chinese Basketball team Fujian Sturgeons.
10 Jimmer Fredette - Shanghai Sharks
The onetime BYU basketball star is an absolute megastar for the Shanghai Sharks in just one season. At BYU, Fredette won the National College Player Of The Year, and now that's he's in China, he has won The Chinese Basketball Association International MVP award. Fredette didn’t have much success in the NBA after being drafted 10th-overall in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. Even when the Kings drafted Fredette, many thought he would be a risk and of course Sacramento being Sacramento, they decided to take the risk, and it crashed.
After going to multiple teams, Fredette found himself in the NBA D-League until going to China to become a superstar, winning the CBA MVP and the CBA scoring championship in his first season in China.
9 Andray Blatche - Xinjiang Flying Tigers
Andray Blatche was a highly rated talent coming out of high school and decided to go to the NBA and skip college. This decision resulted in him slipping into the 2nd round and was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 49th overall pick in 2005. Blatche had a solid career with Washington and had his best season in the 2010-2011 campaign, but Blatche was unable to become a reliable starting big man in the NBA. He then signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2012 and played two seasons with the team, making the playoffs both years, before going overseas to play for the Philippine national team, then the Chinese Basketball Association.
Blatche has made two CBA all-star appearances, and Blatche won the CBA Championship this season with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers.
8 Carlos Arroyo - Cariduros de Fajardo
Carlos Arroyo has a had a long basketball career, and it is amazing that he is still playing to this day. Arroyo has played for many teams around the world. Starting his career in Puerto Rico in 1996, he found his way to the Toronto Raptors in 2001. Arroyo played for the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons (playing on the 2005 team that went to the NBA Finals), Orlando Magic, Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.
Arroyo then went on to win championships in Turkey, Israel, Spain, and Puerto Rico. He currently is the point guard of Cariduros de Fajardo, and this season won the Baloncesto Superior Nacional MVP. Arroyo's biggest achievement was in the 2004 Summer Olympics where his Puerto Rican National Team defeated Team USA.
7 Jason Thompson - Shandong Golden Stars
The pride of Rider University, Jason Thompson played all four years at the University and was selected 12th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2008 NBA Draft. Thompson never became a star with the Kings but spent seven years with the California team and was a solid piece of their lineup, whether it was as a starting forward or coming off the bench. Thompson was traded to the 76ers, and then to the Warriors, and was a part of the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors championship season, but was released before the end of the season and signed with the Raptors to end his 2016 campaign.
Thompson signed with the Shandong Golden Stars for the 2016-2017 season and helped get them get into the playoffs before being eliminated in the first round.
6 Robert Sacre - Hitachi SunRockers Tokyo-Shibuya
The last pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Robert Sacre played for the Los Angeles Lakers for four seasons. The Gonzaga graduate played all four years at the school before being drafted to LA and going to their D-League team (Los Angeles D-Fenders). Though Sacre played out his three-year extension, he never excelled in the NBA and went to Japan in 2017 to play for Hitachi SunRockers Tokyo-Shibuya in the B. League (a league created in 2016). Sacre's team, unfortunately, was knocked out of the B. League playoffs in the first round to the Brave Thunder. It'll be interesting to see if the 7-foot center can win a championship in Japan, or if he can impress someone well enough to bring him back to the NBA. Either way, while in Japan, Sacre can enjoy some great pro wrestling matches.
5 Rudy Fernández - Real Madrid
Real Madrid is arguably the most famous known team in all of sports, that is because of the world football club that is valued at over $3 billion. The basketball team is not as luxurious as their football compadres, but still is the most dominant basketball team in the Spanish leagues with 33 championships. Fernandez made his name known in Spain winning a ton of accomplishments such as two Spanish King's Cup MVPs, FIBA Young Player of the Year and the Spanish League Top Scorer all before going off to the NBA. Fernandez began playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, coming off the bench and playing around 23 minutes per game for three seasons. The Spanish guard played for the Denver Nuggets for a year and went back to Real Madrid for his third stint with the club, winning three Championships since then.
4 Josh Childress - SAN-EN NeoPhoenix
Josh Childress was drafted out of Stanford, and was picked 6th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. Childress didn't have the career people expected out of him, only playing four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks before going to Greece to play for the Olympiacos Piraeus, winning the Greek Cup before leaving. Childress returned to the NBA in 2010 with the Phoenix Suns and ended up with the Nets and Pelicans before going to Australia to play for the Sydney Kings, and now SAN-EN NeoPheoenix, a Japanese B-League team. Childress is also a co-captain in rapper Ice Cube's new basketball league, BIG3, representing the Ball Hogs. This will be very fun to watch unfold.
3 Lou Amundson - TNT KaTropa
Lou Amundson played last season in the Philippines after playing for ten different NBA teams since going undrafted in the 2006 NBA Draft out of UNLV. Amundson is the definition of a journeyman, starting his career in the D-League for the Colorado 14ers (now the Texas Legends) and was the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year. Amundson played a few games for the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz from 2006 to 2008. Finally, Amundson found some stability when he signed with the Phoenix Suns, coming off the bench for the team for two seasons. Amundson bounced around from team to team in the NBA, only staying with a team no longer than two seasons.
Amundson then decided to go overseas to the Philippines in 2017 to play for TNT KaTropa, but only playing a few games before leaving and making us wonder where he will go next.
2 Stephon Marbury - Beijing Ducks
Stephon Marbury is a legend in China. Marbury has played seven seasons for the Beijing Ducks, winning the Chinese Basketball Association championship three times (2012, 2014 and 2015) while also winning the CBA Finals MVP in 2015. Selected 4th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, it is quite shocking that Marbury is still playing basketball at the age of 40. Starting his career with a young Kevin Garnett, the Timberwolves showed a lot of potential, but Marbury soon wanted to be closer to home, demanding a trade and was traded to the New Jersey Nets where he blossomed into an All-Star. Marbury was traded to New York to play for the Knicks in 2004, and his brand began to expand. Maybe a bigger star off the court than on the court, Marbury never found much success in terms of win-loss record, but his name was still in many minds.
Marbury headed to China in 2010 and immediately became a star, winning the All-Star MVP and eventually finding the right team in the Beijing Ducks, winning three Chinese Basketball Association Championships, becoming a six-time CBA All-Star in all six seasons and winning the 2015 CBA Finals MVP.
1 Amar'e Stoudemire - Hapoel Jerusalem
Arguably the biggest star on this list is the former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks All-Star big man. Stoudemire was a crucial part of some impressive Phoenix Suns teams playing along with Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and coached by Mike D’Antoni. Unfortunately, the Suns never made to the Finals with Stoudemire, and in 2010, Stoudemire signed a five-year, near $100 million deal with the New York Knicks, reuniting with D’Antoni and joining forces with Carmelo Anthony.
After playing for Dallas and Miami, the former 9th overall pick set his sights to Hapoel Jerusalem (a team he co-owns) in 2016. After earning himself all-star honors in his first season in the Israeli Basketball League, Stoudemire and his team won the 2016–17 Israeli League Championship this June.
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