At the 2019 NBA Awards, four of the five major player awards were handed to an international player, showcasing the true growth of the league as an international one.
At the NBA India Games 2019, the rosters of both the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings have a pretty good mix of international players as well.
Among the top contributing international players from these two rosters is Serbian Bogdan Bogdanović.
Bogdan Bogdanović was born in Belgrade, current Serbia (former Yugoslavia) on August 18, 1992.
He was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 27th overall pick in the 2014 Draft.
A couple of years later, during the 2016 Draft, his draft rights were traded to the Sacramento Kings along with Georgios Papagiannis, Skal Labissière and a future second-round pick in exchange for the draft rights of Marquese Chriss.
Before finally joining the NBA in 2017, Bogdanović had a pretty successful seven-year professional career in Europe.
His professional career began with Partizan, a team based in Serbia.
With the franchise, Bogdanović only saw serious playing time in his final season (2013-14). That year he was named the Serbian League Playoffs MVP and EuroLeague Rising Star as he led the team to a Serbian League Championship, the franchise's eighth consecutive.
He was also a two-time winner (2011, 13) of the Adriatic League, a first-tier men's league that included professional clubs from the former Yugoslavian countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia).
In 2014, he moved to Turkey to sign with the professional club named Fenerbahçe.
While he did win the EuroLeague Rising Star (2015) award for the second consecutive year, this time with his Turkish franchise, Bogdanović's career took off in the second and third seasons with the club.
In 2016 and 2017, he won multiple Turkish national titles - Turkish Cup (2016), Turkish President's Cup (2016), Turkish League (2016, 17). En route to winning so many titles, he received individual recognitions like the 2016 Turkish Cup Final MVP and 2017 Turkish League Finals MVP
However, he rose to stardom in the 2017 edition of the EuroLeague tournament, where he led Fenerbahçe to a EuroLeague title while finishing as the EuroLeague Finals Top Scorer. He also received a selection to the All-EuroLeague First Team.
Bogdanović signed with the Sacramento Kings in July of 2017.
In his debut against the Phoenix Suns, the team's fourth game of the season, he played 26 minutes and finished with 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in a two-point loss. A month later, Bogdanović came up big with the game-winner against the reigning NBA Champions in the Golden State Warriors:
During the 2018 All-Star weekend, he was named a member of Team World for the Rising Stars Challenge. Erupting for 26 points, six assists and four rebounds in a 155-124 win, he was named MVP.
Playing 78 games, he finished his rookie season with averages of 11.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds. Those numbers earned him a selection to the NBA's All-Rookie Second Team.
In his second season with the team, Bogdanović was once again named to Team World for the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge. He averaged 14.1 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in the 2018-19 season, highlighted by this game-winning three-pointer versus the Los Angeles Lakers.
International Career for Serbia
He has represented his native country of Serbia in international competitions since 2011 and has been a member of four medal-winning teams (all silver).
His first silver medal came in Latvia at the U19 FIBA World Championship.
MORE: Kings' roster for the NBA India Games 2019
In a three-year span from 2014 to 2017, Bogdanović was a member of Serbia's silver medal-winning squads at every major international competition - 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and the 2017 EuroBasket in Turkey.
A career 37.5% shooter from beyond the arc and a willing passer, Bogdanović, at 6-6, offers his coaching staff the option of playing him at multiple positions in the current positionless NBA.
For more updates and stories on the NBA India Games 2019, you can follow NBA.com's page dedicated to the historic event.