1. A former Spanish national men’s basketball player
The Toronto Raptors hired an elite level NBA executive in Bryan Colangelo back in the spring of 2006. He made a major impact right away with the direction of the team. In addition to several major transactions that off-season, Colangelo signed forward Jorge Garbajosa, a Spanish national men’s basketball team member.
The six-foot-nine forward played a significant role in turning around the Raptors fortunes in the 2006/07 season. The Toronto Raptors had missed the NBA Playoffs in each of the previous four years.
As one of nine new faces on the team’s roster in 2006/07, Jorge Garbajosa played a significant part in the Toronto Raptors winning 20 more games than they did the previous season when they were 27-55. While his numbers aren’t spectacular, Garbajosa did make significant contributions to the Raptors’ success.
Jorge Garbajosa averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He was also a credible threat from three-point range, shooting 34.2 percent. He also played 28.5 minutes a game. His impact was not long-lasting. A horrific injury suffered in a game against the Boston Celtics resulted in a broken and displaced left ankle ending his NBA career.
Jorge Garbajosa was 29 years old when he signed a two year deal with the Toronto Raptors in 2006 and managed to play 74 games-67 in his rookie season.
Jorge Garbajosa was named to the 2007 NBA all-rookie first-team and was highly decorated in Europe and Spain as a champion and all-star before appearing in the NBA. Garbajosa was eligible for the NBA Draft in1999 but went undrafted.