A record nine international players will take part in the NBA
Finals, which will be televised to 205 nations in 46 languages
starting in San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday in the United
The old mark of most non-US players in an NBA Finals was set in
2005 with seven when the Spurs defeated Detroit in seven games.
French guard Tony Parker, Argentina playmaker Manu Ginobili and
US Virgin Islands standout Tim Duncan will lead the San Antonio
Spurs against a Cleveland lineup that has three global players in
supporting roles to star LeBron James.
Other international players on the San Antonio roster are
Dutchman Francisco Elson, Slovenia's Beno Udrih and Argentina's
Fabricio Oberto, who averages 5.9 points and 5.1 rebounds a game
off the bench.
Lithuanian center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, averaging 13.8 points and
9.5 rebounds, is the top big man for the Cavaliers and will be
called upon to test Duncan in order for Cleveland to challenge the
Montenegro's Aleksandar Pavlovic averages 9.0 points in 30
minutes a game for the Cavaliers in the playoffs while Brazil's
Anderson Varejao averages 5.6 points and 6.1 rebounds a
"They still would not be in the finals, nor would we, if we
didn't each have our supporting casts," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
A record 128 television broadcasters have signed deals with the
NBA to show the championship series, 16 more than last year's old
Newcomers include the first station from the Middle East,
Jordan-based ART, sending a commentary team to cover the games in
Arabic live for fans in their region.
"The NBA Finals is no longer just an American event. It is
worldwide," said ART sports chief Mustapha Tell.
(Xinhua News Agency via Agencies June 7, 2007)