As part of NBA.com's celebration of "NBA Decade: The '90s", we asked you who was the league's International Player of the Decade. Here are the poll results:
• Dikembe Mutombo, Congo (Zaire), 49.8%
A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Dikembe Mutombo
is one of several former Georgetown centers who have excelled in the past decade. Mutombo spent five seasons in Denver before moving to the Atlanta Hawks and has achieved great success in both uniforms. In 1994, he led the Nuggets to a thrilling playoff upset of top-seeded Seattle, the first time ever an eighth seed had beaten a top seed. He had led the NBA in blocked shots three times, in 1994, 1995 and 1996, and last season Mutombo was given the IBM Award for his all-around contributions to his team's success. He is a five-time All-Star.
• Toni Kukoc, Croatia, 19.9%
After much anticipation, Toni Kukoc
joined the Bulls in 1993 and made a smooth transition to the NBA. He was named to the All-Rookie second team in his first season and by 1996 was being honored with the NBA Sixth Man award after averaging 13.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 3.5 apg. Kukoc became an important role player in the Bulls teams which won titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998 following Michael Jordan
's return. He had his best year statistically in 1998-99, averaging 18.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 5.3 apg.
• Drazen Petrovic, Croatia, 15.6%
Drazen Petrovic was on the verge of NBA stardom when he was killed in a car accident in June, 1993. After limited playing time in a season and a half with the Portland Trail Blazers, Petrovic was traded to the New Jersey Nets, where he quickly became one of the stars of the team. He averaged 20.6 ppg in 1991-92 and 22.3 ppg in 1992-93. Petrovic was named to the All-NBA third team in 1992 and seemed likely to become an NBA All-Star the next season. He was only 28 when he died.
• Arvydas Sabonis, Lithuania, 11.8%
Originally drafted by the Trail Blazers in 1986, it wasn't until ten years later that Arvydas Sabonis
left Europe to try his luck in the NBA. Despite his long history of injuries, the 30-year-old rookie was an instant success, averaging 14.5 points and 10.2 rebounds in his first season. He was named to the All-Rookie first team in 1996 and last season helped the Trail Blazers win the Pacific Division title for the first time since 1992. Now surrounded by a wealth of talented teammates, Sabonis has proved wrong all those who thought he had left coming to the NBA until too late in his career.
• Luc Longley, Australia, 2.5%
Center Luc Longley
spent the decade in a variety of climates ranging from Minnesota to Chicago to Phoenix, but it was with the Bulls that he achieved his greatest success as a member of three NBA championship teams (1996-1998). Although his statistics were modest, with career bests of 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 1997-98, Longley got the job done for the Bulls, who didn't need to rely on their center the way some teams do.