It doesn't seem that long ago that many were stocking up on survival items, scared the world was going to be forever changed at midnight on Jan. 1, 2000.

The Y2K bug came and went without much consequence — 10 years ago.

Now there are less than two weeks left in the decade that gave us 9/11, the Salt Lake City Olympics, a couple of lengthy wars, our first black President, economic booms followed by financial woes not seen in decades, and Lady Gaga.

There has been some good NBA basketball played in the aughts, the zeros, the ohs — or whatever we end up calling this decade — too.

Perhaps the overriding theme in basketball the past 10 years has been the rise of the sport internationally. Professional leagues dot the globe, but the very best players still want to make it in the United States. As such, foreign born players are making more of an impact in the NBA than ever before.

In fact, three No. 1 overall picks this decade hail from outside the U.S. — China's Yao Ming (2002), Australia's Andrew Bogut (2005) and Italy's Andrea Bargnani (2006).

What's more, four of the 10 players on my All-Decade Team weren't born or raised in the continental United States — although Tim Duncan is an American citizen being from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For what it's worth, here are my All-Decade selections and why:

FIRST TEAM

F — Tim Duncan

Duncan was a star before the decade even began, having led the San Antonio Spurs to the 1999 NBA title. But the 6-11 forward, who may be the most fundamentally sound player in the league, helped San Antonio repeat the feat three more times — in 2003, 2005 and 2007. He's been the NBA Finals MVP three times and was twice the league's MVP, in both 2002 and 2003. Duncan is a scorer, to be sure, but he can also defend and has been voted to the NBA's first or second All-Defensive Team every single year this decade.

F — Kevin Garnett

Garnett toiled for more than a decade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, actually leading them to the 2004 Western Conference Finals — which was the year he won his lone league MVP award. It wasn't until he was traded to the Boston Celtics prior to the 2007-08 season that he had enough talent around him to win an NBA title. But even if Garnett had never gotten that team title, the 6-11 forward would have been considered one of the decade's best. Eight times this decade, he's been named All-Defensive First Team and seven times he's been All-NBA first or second team. He was also the MVP of the All-Star Game in 2003.

C — Shaquille O'Neal

Shaq, quite simply, was the most physically-dominating player of the era. While his skills have diminished somewhat in recent years, it wasn't that long ago that the 7-1, 325-pounder was averaging 27 points and 11 rebounds per game. O'Neal won his only league MVP in the decade's first year, but he was the NBA Finals MVP three times. His Lakers teams won three NBA titles and then he picked up another one with the Miami Heat in 2006.

G — Kobe Bryant

Shaq's former teammate with the Lakers finally proved he could win the NBA title without him last season. Bryant — at once one of the NBA's most and least popular players — finally earned the MVP Award in 2008 after winning the league's scoring title in both 2006 and 2007. He also was the MVP in three All-Star games this decade and the MVP of last June's NBA Finals. Not just a scorer, Bryant has been first or second team All-Defensive all but one year this decade.

G — Steve Nash

Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, Nash is the most unlikely of the five players to be on the All-Decade first team. But his back-to-back MVP Awards in 2005 and 2006 make him hard to overlook — despite his small stature by NBA standards.He was a solid point guard when the decade began for the Dallas Mavericks. But his career really took off under Mike D'Antoni with the Phoenix Suns, where he averaged 10-plus assists per game for four straight years.

SECOND TEAM

F — Dirk Nowitzki

The German 7-footer with a sweet shooting touch from inside and out won the 2007 MVP Award. He also led the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals that season and has been the main reason the Mavs have been a consistent winner throughout the decade.

F — LeBron James

James got a late start in the NBA this decade — thanks to his youth. But no player straight out of high school had as big of an impact in his first year. Even as a 18-year-old early the 2003-04 season, it was clear he was destined for greatness. James, who is still just 24 for a couple more weeks, already has an MVP Award (2009), two All-Star Game MVP accolades, a scoring title (2008) and has been named to the All-NBA First Team three times.

C — Yao Ming

Yao's success — more than any other player this decade — was important for the marketing of the league worldwide. Thanks in large part to the 7-6 center from Shanghai, the NBA is huge in China. Kobe Bryant and the rest of the American stars were treated like heroes during the Beijing Olympics because they've become household names in a country of more than a billion people. Yao has been injury plagued, but when he's healthy he's been outstanding on the court, averaging as many as 25 points (2006-07) and 10.8 rebounds (2007-08) per game. Plus, he's a seven-time All-Star.

G — Dwyane Wade

Wade didn't enter the league until the 2003-04 season, but he quickly became one of its best, most marketable players. The 6-4 guard is a five-time All-Star who led the Miami Heat to the 2006 NBA title. Wade has been selected to the All-NBA first or second teams four times and won the league's scoring title in 2009. In addition, he was Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year for 2006.

G — Chauncey Billups

Billups was well on his way to just being another journeyman point guard through his first five seasons in the NBA, playing for four different teams. But prior to the 2003-04 season, Billups found a home in Detroit, where he finally played up to his potential. Billups led the Pistons to the Eastern Conference finals in his first year in Detroit — a feat that then became a regular occurrence. The Pistons went to the conference finals — at least — six straight years with Billups leading the way. Detroit won the 2004 NBA title, with Billups earning the finals MVP honor. His streak of conference finals appearances is now up to seven, having led the Denver Nuggets there last season after being traded by the Pistons.

So there you have it: the top 10 players from the past 10 years in the NBA.

NBA ALL-DECADE TEAM

First team

F — Tim Duncan

F — Kevin Garnett

C — Shaquille O'Neal

G — Kobe Bryant

G — Steve Nash

Second team

F — Dirk Nowitzki

F — LeBron James

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C — Yao Ming

G — Dwyane Wade

G — Chauncey Billups

e-mail: lojo@desnews.com