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Record 84 international players on NBA opening night rosters


Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon tries to strip the ball away from Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (L) during the first half of their NBA pre-season game in Toronto October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Cassese
Toronto Raptors guard Jose Calderon tries to strip the ball away from Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (L) during the first half of their NBA pre-season game in Toronto October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Cassese

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A record 84 foreign born players from 38 countries and territories will be on opening night rosters when the NBA tips off a new season on Tuesday.

The 84 international players just pips the previous record of 83, from the opening night in the 2006-07 campaign.

The small increase is a continuation of the steady rise of foreign players in the NBA. A decade ago, the rosters featured 45 international players from 28 countries and territories.

Only two of the league's 30 teams will be without at least one foreign player on opening night while the Toronto Raptors will have the most international flair with six foreign players.

The Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz will both field five international players while eight teams have four.

One of North America's most diverse and multi-cultural cities, the Raptors' players hail from six different countries, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Lithuania, Nigeria and Spain.

France provided the most players with 11 followed by Turkey with five and Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Serbia, and Spain each with four.

At the end of last season, the NBA featured 79 international players from 35 countries and territories on team rosters.

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Julian Linden)

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