The San Antonio Spurs have been known as the NBA’s most “international” team for a while. They specialize in finding talent all over the world.
The rest of the league has caught on, and now you see a whole lot more players from other countries than you did 10 years ago. The NBA has truly become a global league and it’s because teams started taking chances on talent they saw elsewhere instead of being close-minded and thinking only Americans make good basketball players.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich thinks the same principles can be applied to coaches. There are some great basketball minds out there that weren’t born here in the USA. It’s only a matter of time before the NBA starts realizing it.
“There are great coaches and great players all over the world at this point, and I think everybody finally believes that,” said Popovich. “It took a while for the NBA to buy into it. I don’t mean the league. I mean teams, coaches, general managers... There are coaches overseas that are as good or better than we who are the coaches here.”
I don’t doubt that what Coach Pop says is true. It will only take a couple and then the floodgates are open. We can probably expect to see more and more foreign-born coaches on NBA benches in the next few years. Then, as tradition goes, assistants get promoted to head coaches. We could even see a style change in the way NBA basketball is played.
Just like the players, coaches could go from nobodies over in Europe to superstars in the NBA. It just takes someone smart enough to recognize true talent when they see it.