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The International NBA: How Hiring Outside the Box Builds Better Teams

Flickr user Doug L.,

The San Antonio Spurs face the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in Game Two of the NBA's Western Conference playoff.

While the game's on the Spurs' home court in the AT&T Center in San Antonio, several Spurs players don't hail from San Antonio – or Texas – or even the United States for that matter. In fact, the Spurs are the most international teamin the NBA.

Other teams are on their way. In the 2013 NBA draft, the number one pick was a Canadian. This year, the number one pickmay well be another Canadian.

The internationalization of the NBA can be traced to the 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team, sports writer KirkGoldsberry tells Texas Standard host David Brown. 

"More and more teams are have more international players every year," Goldsberry says. "I think if there's are about 60 or 70 international players in the league right now – that's the lowest that number will ever be. I think that's a pretty strong argument. So there's about 450 guys in the league at any given time; I think it's reasonable to expect, as the league becomes a more globally … shared phenomenon that the league will reflect that." 

Listen to the conversation in the Soundcloud player above, or download an MP3 version below.

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.
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