European giants Gasol, Nowitzki, Parker to enter Hall of Fame

The three played key roles in changing the global basketball landscape while spending the vast majority of their careers in the United States, where they each won at least one NBA championship

Euroleague Basketball congratulates three of the greatest ambassadors that European basketball has ever produced – Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Dirk Nowitzki – on being voted as new inductees to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The announcement was made over the weekend at the NCAA Final Four in Houston, USA.

The three played key roles in changing the global basketball landscape while spending the vast majority of their careers in the United States, where they each won at least one NBA championship. Only a small group of Europeans had found success in America before Nowitzki arrived in Dallas in 1998. By the time the trio finished in the NBA in 2019, the doors for Europeans had been blown wide open for stars such as Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic.

In between, Gasol, Parker and Nowitzki were stalwarts for their respective national teams and collected hauls of medals and personal accolades at the Basketball World Cup, Olympic Games and EuroBasket tournaments.

“As a former player, it is always important to see colleagues achieving new and successful goals, and I am sure that besides all the titles that Dirk, Pau and Tony have lifted, this well-deserved recognition is especially touching for what it represents,” Dejan Bodiroga, Euroleague Basketball President, said. “Having three European born and raised players inducted the same year into the Hall of Fame is a fact that we all should be proud of, as it demonstrates the importance that European basketball has acquired in the global ecosystem during the last decades, raising an enormous number of talents and achieving unquestionable success.”


“I would like to congratulate Dirk, Pau and Tony for this recognition. As an American who has spent a long time on this side of the Atlantic, it is enriching to see how basketball has evolved through the years and the key role of globalization to reach new audiences and widen its boundaries,” Marshall Glickman, Euroleague Basketball CEO, stated. “These three super stars perfectly symbolize the importance of European basketball culture, becoming perfect ambassadors not only to educate other countries about the way basketball is experienced in Europe, but also as a great inspiration for a generation of young kids to love this sport.”

Gasol and Parker went the extra mile to leave their mark on their homelands. Gasol began his professional career with his beloved FC Barcelona, which he led to the Spanish Cup title in 2001 before being voted to the All-EuroLeague Second Team as a 20-year-old. Two decades later, he returned home at age 39 to end his career with Barca and just a few months later helped it reach the 2020-21 EuroLeague Championship Game in Cologne, Germany.

Parker bought a stake in LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in 2009 and, under his watch, the sleeping giant has blossomed into one of the top teams in France and a regular in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. He set club records in the EuroCup with his performance in an ASVEL uniform in 2011 during the NBA lockout. Since becoming ASVEL’s president, Parker has witnessed the club lift four French League titles and two French Cups. He has overseen the building of a new arena, too.

Their Hall of Fame resumes speak for themselves. Gasol, whose No. 16 was retired earlier this year by the Los Angeles Lakers, helped that storied franchise win back-to-back NBA championships in 2009 and 2010. The 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year was a six-time NBA All-Star over his 18 seasons with Memphis, Chicago, San Antonio and Milwaukee.


On the international stage, the Spanish center was one of the most dominant players of all time. Gasol won 11 medals at major competitions with Spain. He was the MVP of the 2006 World Cup after leading Spain to glory. Gasol also helped Spain to three EuroBasket gold medals as MVP in both 2009 and 2015, as well as two silvers and a bronze in successive Olympics between 2008 and 2016.


Parker played 17 seasons for the San Antonio Spurs, which he helped turn into a dynasty with four NBA championships. He was named MVP of the NBA Finals in 2007. Parker was a six-time All-Star whose No. 9 jersey was retired in San Antonio. He played his final NBA season with Charlotte in 2018-19. France won four EuroBasket medals with Parker in the lineup, including gold in Slovenia in 2013. He was the top scorer and was named MVP of that tournament.

Nowitzki is sixth in NBA history in scoring with 31,560 points. He was the league MVP in 2007 and led his team to the championship in 2011. Nowitzki played his entire 21-season NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks, who retired his No. 41 jersey. He was chosen as an NBA All-Star 14 times. In 2002, Nowitzki was named the Basketball World Cup MVP after leading Germany to the bronze medal in Indianapolis, USA. Three years later, he earned MVP honors at the 2005 EuroBasket after helping Germany to the silver medal.


The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is located in Springfield, Massachusetts. The induction ceremony will take place in August.

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