In light of Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest aka The Panda’s Friend announcing that he is playing in China next season, let’s take a look at other notable players who have taken their talents overseas. Whether it be because of aging, lockouts or just wanting a new scenery, these seven players have suited up and played ball overseas.
7. Stephon Marbury
The 37-year-old from Brooklyn, New York played in the NBA from 1996-2009 and was a 2x NBA All-Star. In 2010 he took his talents to China and since then he has won two Chinese Basketball Association championships.
6. Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert “Agent Zero” Arenas, is most famously known for his gun show down in the Wizards’ locker room with teammate Javaris Crittenton, played in the NBA from 2001-2012 before departing the U.S. to suit up for the Shanghai Sharks.
5. Metta World Peace
Ron Artest. Metta World Peace. The Panda’s Friend. One of the NBA most eccentric players, Panda Friend, is leaving the NBA to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales. From being crowned defensive player of the year, to his part in the “malice at the palace” melee, to winning an NBA Championship in 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers, Artest/World Peace/ The Panda’s Friend personality will be missed this season.
4. Jonny Flynn
The former Syracuse standout and 6th pick overall in the 2009 draft, Flynn has had trouble finding a home in the NBA. Jonny went from the Timberwolves to the D-League to the Rockets and finally the Trail Blazers before leaving for Australia. Last year Flynn played for the Melbourne Tigers and is currently a free agent. A far cry from his Syracuse days where he averaged 26.7 points a game and led Syracuse to a Big East championship in 2009.
3. Brandon Jennings
Coming out of high school Jennings was the #1 prospect according to ESPNU, won Gatorade Player of the Year and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award. Instead of going to college at The University of Arizona, Jennings became the first American to chose to play professionally overseas over playing collegiate basketball. After one year with Lottomatica Roma in Italy, Jennings was drafted 10th overall in the 2009 draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Currently he is on the Detroit Pistons.
2. J.R. Smith
Because of the 2011 NBA lockout, Smith (along with many others) looked to play elsewhere. Smith chose to sign with Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the CBA and remained there until their season was over. After the Golden Bulls’ season, J.R. signed with the Knicks and the rest is history.
1. Serge Ibaka
Ibaka began his career in Spain in 2007 and was drafted 24th overall by the then Seattle SuperSonics in 2008. Ibaka stayed in Spain until 2009 and then came to the NBA to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder. During the lockout he played six games for Real Madrid in Spain.
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