In international basketball competitions, Asian representatives are now seen as increasingly competitive in the midst of the dominance of representatives from the Americas and Europe.
Basketball national teams from North Asia, the Middle East, to Southeast Asia are now in the spotlight at international tournaments, the Olympics, and the FIBA World Cup.
The increasingly competitive Asian representatives have been followed by the emergence of many talented players from the yellow continent, nicknamed the Asian continent.
The FIBA Asian Cup Competition, the Asian Basketball League (ABL), as well as several domestic basketball leagues in Asia are also destinations for talent search until names like Rui Hachimura or Yuta Watanabe appeared.
Indonesia’s score was compiled from the starting five containing the best Asian-blooded basketball players who stole the world’s attention.
Point Guard: Jimmy Alapag
The figure of a basketball player in a pack also emerged from Southeast Asia, to be precise, from the Philippines. The name Jimmy Alapag appeared in the 2003 Philippine Basketball League draft as a young player with above-average shooting accuracy.
Jimmy Alapag’s career as an active player spanned 12 years. Growing up with the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters club, Jimmy won six league titles and MVP in 2011.
In Asia, the figure of Jimmy Alapag is like Stephen Curry or Kyle Thompson with his trademark three-point shot. From 2003 to 2016, the player has scored 1,250 points from outside the three-point line.
Shooting Guard: Michael Madanly
Michael Madanly also became a big talent basketball player from mainland Asia. Madanly is a Syrian shooting guard and is known as one of the bombers from the Middle East region.
Michael Madanly’s name appeared at the 2001 FIBA Asian Cup. As a 20-year-old roster, Madanly went beyond expectations by posting 17 points per game. The record was the sixth most in the competition at that time.
The nickname scoring machine is not mistaken for this 193 cm tall player. At the 2007 Asia Cup, Michael Madanly posted 33.1 points per game, including scoring 40 points against the Indonesian Basketball National Team.
Michael Madanly’s career has shone for 14 years as a professional player. He has stepped on the Chinese Basketball League, Philippine Basketball League, and the Dutch Basketball League in his career.
Small Forward: Samad Nikkhah Bahrami
Samad Nikkhah Bahrami is an Iranian professional basketball player. The 37-year-old is currently defending Mahram in the Iranian Basketball Super League and is still actively playing in the National Team.
Samad is one of Iran’s best talents and is praised by many. In 2014, New Orleans Pelicans was even said to be eyeing the player to strengthen the club. Although, these rumors haven’t led Samad to the NBA.
Samad Nikkhah Bahrami is also known as a duo with the figure of the Center, Hamad Haddadi. Both of them have awarded three gold medals for the Iranian national team at the FIBA Asian Cup and two silver medals at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games.
The name Samad Nikkhah Bahrami is mentioned by two Asian basketball legends, Mario Wuysang (Indonesia) and Sam Daghlas (Jordan). Both considered that Samad’s game was extraordinary as Iran’s mainstay score barn to date.
Power Foward: Yi Jianlian
Yi Jianlian is one of the best power forward Asia has. His talent emerged from a young age and developed with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, his first professional team.
At 213 cm tall, young Yi Jianlian displayed potential as a mainstay power forward with equally good defensive and attacking abilities. In 2002, the Times even labeled him as “The Next Yao Ming” when he won the 2003 Chinese Basketball League Rookie of The Year title.
Yi then expanded his career to the NBA in 2007, joining the Milwaukee Bucks via a draft. He played for three teams in a four-year career in the United States, with the Bucks, New Jersey Nets, and the Washington Wizards. However, injuries prevented Yi from performing optimally in Uncle Sam’s country.
Guangdong Southern Tigers became the club that Yi defended in 2011. Although he returned to the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012, Yi remains a part of The Tigers to this day.
In the midst of his up and down career, Yi Jianlian is indeed important in the Chinese basketball team. Yi contributed three FIBA Asian Cup titles and one 2006 Asian Games gold medal.
Center: Yao Ming
It’s no exaggeration to call Yao Ming an Asian basketball icon. His name is still the biggest among basketball stars, mainly because Yao brought his dominance to the NBA.
This 229 cm tall player has been targeted by several NBA teams since he was 17 years old. Together with the Shanghai Sharks, Yao is known as a resilient center. His career took off when he agreed to move to the Houston Rockets in 2002.
Yao Ming clung to the figure of Shaquille O’Neal in the second position of Rookie of the Year in 2003. After that, Yao’s performance skyrocketed with seven appearances in the NBA All-Star from 2003 to 2009 and 2011 until he decided to retire. The number 11 shirt he wore while defending the Rockets was also retired by the club.
The figure of Yao Ming is also the key to the greatness of the Chinese basketball team at the Asian level. He won three consecutive FIBA Asian Cups, 2001, 2003, and 2005 editions. Yao has become a legend for the Chinese national basketball team despite failing to present the best titles at the 2006 FIBA World Cup and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.