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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America. This list comprises all Italian players who have played in the NBA since its foundation in 1946. Each player's entry includes the seasons he spent in the league, the teams he played for, the number of appearances he made (both in regular season and playoffs) and his draft information. The list also includes players who were born outside of Italy but hold Italian citizenship or have represented the Italian national team in FIBA-sanctioned competitions, as well as Italian-born players who acquired another nationality at some point. Players who were born in Italy to foreign parents and never held Italian citizenship are not included.

A total of nine Italian and Italian-born players have played in the NBA as of the end of the 2016–17 season. The first Italian-born player to feature in the league was Hank Biasatti, who appeared in 6 games for the Toronto Huskies during the 1946–47 season and subsequently was picked by the Boston Celtics in the 1947 draft; Biasatti, however, was a Canadian citizen by naturalization at the time of his debut, having moved to Canada with his parents as a child.[1] In the 1970 draft, Dino Meneghin was selected as an 11th round pick by the Atlanta Hawks, thus becoming the first Italian- and European-raised player to be drafted by an NBA team; nonetheless, Meneghin was never signed.[2] In 1989, Mike D'Antoni became the first player with NBA experience to represent Italy in international competitions, being selected to the Italian squad for the European Championship; an American citizen by birth, D'Antoni had been playing in the Italian League for 12 years and had been granted Italian citizenship due to his Italian ancestry.[3] On November 12, 1995, Stefano Rusconi became the first Italian-raised player to play in the NBA, as he made his debut for the Phoenix Suns. In the 2006 draft, Andrea Bargnani was selected by the Toronto Raptors as the first overall pick, being the first—and to date only—Italian and European player to be drafted first overall.[4]

Marco Belinelli is currently the all-time leader among Italians in both regular season and playoff games played with 724 and 58 respectively. Belinelli was also the first Italian to both play in the NBA Finals and win an NBA Championship, having done so as a member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.[5][6]



Pos. G F C
Position Guard Forward Center
* Denotes player who is still active in the NBA


Note: Statistics are correct as of the end of the 2017–18 season.

Player NBA career Games played NBA draft Notes Ref.
Name Pos. Team(s) played Years[nb 1] RS PO Year Pick Team
Andrea Bargnani F/C 20062016 550 11 2006 1st Toronto Raptors [7]
Marco Belinelli* G 2007–present 724 58 2007 18th Golden State Warriors [8]
Hank Biasatti G Toronto Huskies 1946–1947 6 1947 n/a Boston Celtics Italian-born Canadian[nb 2] [9]
Mike D'Antoni G 19731976 130 4 1973 20th Kansas City–Omaha Kings American-born Italian[nb 3] [11]
Luigi Datome F 20132015 55 3 2009 Undrafted [12]
Travis Diener G 20052010 179 2 2005 38th Orlando Magic American-born Italian[nb 4] [14]
Vincenzo Esposito G Toronto Raptors 1995–1996 30 1991 Undrafted [15]
Danilo Gallinari* F 2008–present 481 12 2008 6th New York Knicks [16]
Stefano Rusconi C/F Phoenix Suns 1995–1996 7 1990 52nd Cleveland Cavaliers [17]

Other drafteesEdit

The following players were drafted but either never played or have yet to play in the NBA.

Player Pos. Year Pick Team Notes Ref.
Augusto Binelli C 1986 40th Atlanta Hawks [18]
Alessandro Gentile G 2014 53rd Minnesota Timberwolves[nb 5] [20]
Dino Meneghin C 1970 182nd Atlanta Hawks [21]


  1. ^ Each year is linked to an article about that particular NBA season.
  2. ^ Biasatti was born in Italy, but moved to Canada with his parents at an early age and became a naturalized Canadian citizen.[1]
  3. ^ D'Antoni was born in the United States to Italian American parents; he obtained Italian dual citizenship through his ancestry after moving to Italy, where he spent several seasons playing in the local league; he also represented Italy internationally.[10]
  4. ^ Diener was born in the United States; he obtained Italian dual citizenship through marriage; he also represented Italy internationally.[13]
  5. ^ Draft rights traded to the Houston Rockets on draft night.[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Hank Biasatti '49". University of Windsor. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  2. ^ Stankovic, Vladimir (December 17, 2011). "Dino Meneghin, the eternal champion". Euroleague. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Stankovic, Vladimir (November 3, 2012). "Mike D'Antoni, the NBA's first "European" head coach". Euroleague. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  4. ^ "Raptors take Bargnani with No. 1 pick". ESPN Inc. June 29, 2006. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  5. ^ "Marco Belinelli: the first italian player in NBA Finals". June 4, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  6. ^ McCafferty, Hugo (June 18, 2014). "Italian Marco Belinelli makes NBA history". Swide. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  7. ^ "Andrea Bargnani". Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  8. ^ "Marco Belinelli". Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  9. ^ "Hank Biasatti". Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  10. ^ "Mike D'Antoni". National Basketball Association. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  11. ^ "Mike D'Antoni". Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  12. ^ "Luigi Datome". Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "Travis Diener è italiano, la Nazionale di basket sogna" [Travis Diener is Italian, the national basketball team is dreaming]. (in Italian). meltygroup. May 29, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  14. ^ "Travis Diener". Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  15. ^ "Vincenzo Esposito". Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  16. ^ "Danilo Gallinari". Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  17. ^ "Stefano Rusconi". Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  18. ^ "1986 NBA Draft". Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  19. ^ "Rockets get 53rd pick Gentile from T-Wolves". Comcast. June 26, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  20. ^ "Alessandro Gentile". Retrieved July 13, 2014.
  21. ^ "1970 NBA Draft". Retrieved January 4, 2012.

External linksEdit