Black athletes have long dominated NBA. But for many years, the birthplaces for those players was often limited to the U.S. Outside of the Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo, African stars were few and far between in the league. But that’s changed in recent years. With the global popularity of the sport growing and the help of NBA international outreach programs like Basketball Without Borders, the continent has started producing talented pros year in and year out. So far, many of the league’s best African players have stood out this postseason. Here are some guys to follow as the second round gets underway.
Weight: 249 pounds
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
When Embiid arrived in the U.S. as a lanky 6-foot-9 16-year-old, he was a basketball novice. In fact, his father—hoping Embiid would take up volleyball—banned him from playing the sport while growing up in Cameroon. But the kid who would eventually be nicknamed “The Process” quickly blossomed into a five-star recruit coming out of the University of Kansas.
The Sixers centerpiece is putting up impressive numbers despite battled injuries this postseason. The two-time all-star was forced to miss game three of Philadelphia’s first-round series with the Nets. But he rebounded to put up a combined 53 points to close out Brooklyn in the last two games of the series.