Basketball is a beloved sport in Canada, and the country has produced some incredibly talented players over the years. From the sport’s early days to the present day, Canadians have consistently proven themselves to be fierce competitors and world-class athletes.
These players were selected based on a variety of criteria, including their on-court performances, their contributions to the sport, and their impact on the Canadian basketball landscape.
From seasoned veterans to up-and-coming stars, these are the top 10 Canadian basketball players of all time:
One of the most well-known Canadian basketball players of all time, Steve Nash is a two-time MVP and eight-time NBA All-Star. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nash grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, and played college basketball at Santa Clara University. He began his professional career with the Phoenix Suns and later played for the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. Nash was known for his incredible ball-handling skills and ability to make precise passes, leading his teams to numerous playoff appearances.
Another Canadian basketball great, Rick Fox is a former NBA player and three-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Fox attended the University of North Carolina before being drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1991. He played for the Celtics for five seasons before joining the Lakers, where he played for the remainder of his career. In addition to his on-court success, Fox is also known for his acting career and ownership of the Echo Fox esports organization.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Bill Wennington played college basketball at St. John’s University before being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 1985. He played for the Mavericks for three seasons before joining the Chicago Bulls, where he won three NBA championships alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Wennington also played for the Sacramento Kings and Seattle SuperSonics before retiring in 2000.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Jamaal Magloire played college basketball at the University of Kentucky before being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 2000. He played for the Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat before retiring in 2012. Magloire was a solid contributor throughout his career and was named an NBA All-Star in 2004.
A native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Samuel Dalembert grew up in Montreal and played college basketball at Seton Hall University. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001 and played for several teams throughout his career, including the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, and Dallas Mavericks. Dalembert was known for his defensive skills and shot-blocking ability, and he played in over 900 NBA games.
Tristan Thompson is a current NBA player for the Boston Celtics and a native of Brampton, Ontario. He played college basketball at the University of Texas before being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011. Thompson has played for the Cavaliers his entire career and won an NBA championship with the team in 2016. He is a solid rebounder and has been named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Kelly Olynyk played college basketball at Gonzaga University before being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 2013. He has played for the Mavericks, Boston Celtics, and the Houston Rockets. Olynyk is known for his shooting skills and has been a solid contributor off the bench for his teams.
Andrew Wiggins is a current NBA player for the Golden State Warriors and a native of Toronto, Ontario. He played college basketball at the University of Kansas before being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers first overall in 2014. Wiggins has played for the Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and currently the Warriors. He is a talented scorer and was a crucial piece to the Warriors’ 2022 NBA Finals run and championship.
Cory Joseph is a current NBA player who has had a solid career thus far. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, and played college basketball at the University of Texas. After college, he was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Joseph has played for a number of teams in the NBA, including the Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings, and now the Detroit Pistons. He is known for his defensive skills and his ability to run the point guard position effectively. Joseph has also played for the Canadian national team and has helped lead the team to a number of international successes.
SGA is still very early in his career and has missed many games due to injury. However, his talent is undeniable and in 2022-23 is garnering MVP consideration- a level that many of the other players on this list never reached.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Gilgeous-Alexander played college basketball at the University of Kentucky before being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 2018. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, where he spent two seasons before being traded to the Thunder.
Gilgeous-Alexander has quickly established himself as a promising young player in the league. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2019 and has continued to improve his game each year. In the 2020-2021 season, he was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in his career and led the Thunder to the playoffs.
Current NBA Players That Could Make the List
The NBA is becoming a more global league each year, and Canadians are no exception. There are plenty of NBA players who are early in their careers that could very well overtake folks on this list, including:
- Jamal Murray
- RJ Barrett
- Brandon Clarke
- Chris Boucher
- Trey Lyles
- Khem Birch
- Joshua Primo
- Oshae Brissett
- Shaedon Sharpe
- Chris Duarte