Marco Belinelli picks the five best European players he’s ever faced

09/Jan/18 17:39 January 9, 2018

Antonis Stroggylakis

09/Jan/18 17:39

Marco Belinelli has played against many difficult opponents but there are some “Europeans” that have given him a particularly hard time.

By Eurohoops team/

In a post for the Player’s Tribune, Italian swingman Marco Belinelli chose the best five European players he’s ever faced throughout his career.

While some players on Belinelli’s list aren’t… the exact definition of “European”, they remain some quite interesting choices, particularly considering how the 2014 NBA champion describes the reasons he picked them.

Per The Player’s Tribune:

Dirk Nowitzki:

Like a lot of European players around my age, I got to watch Dirk as a teenager before he became a huge NBA sensation. He was considered an unknown when he got picked in the NBA draft, but we all knew who he was and what he could do.

So, when someone asks me this question, about the best European players I’ve ever played against, Dirk is the first person I think of.

In 2005 or 2006, I played my first game for Italy against the German national team. Everyone knew Dirk could shoot, so when I switched onto him, I pressed up as much as I could to prevent him from getting a shot up. He was only a couple years older than me, I thought I could meet his energy level and stop him.

But it was impossible.

He drove right past me. He could move like a point guard, and he was so tall that I couldn’t block his shot. What he was doing didn’t look real. He changed basketball in so many ways. Me and my teammates were so amazed by the way he moved, how easily he got baskets. When he came to the NBA, we all knew he would be a big deal even before everyone in the NBA did.

Dirk is one of the five best players of all time, in my opinion. He is amazing.