As the highest level of professional basketball, the NBA funnels high-end talent from across the world into America (and Toronto). During the 2023 offseason, those international stars returned home and represented their native countries in the FIBA World Cup.
There are a record 55 current NBA players on a FIBA roster this year, and 107 in total that are in the league now, have been in the past, or were drafted at some point.
That number, and the tournament itself, is headlined by USA’s squad. All 12 players who’ll be representing the states come from the Association.
The Future Is Now.
Introducing the 2023 USA Men's National Team!
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 6, 2023
During the tune-up stage, Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards put on a show and showed why the USA national team is considered the favorite to win gold. The group will kick things off on August 26, when they take on New Zealand in Manila.
You don’t have to leave North America to find the team that’s likely going to give the stars and stripes the biggest challenge. Canada has been a hotbed for NBA prospects of late, and most of them came together to create a scary squad in 2023.
Led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett and Dillon Brooks, the team opened up the tournament by taking down Evan Fournier, Rudy Gobert and France.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander showed out in Canada's #FIBAWC opening win 🔥
27 PTS, 13 REB, 6 AST pic.twitter.com/OONcGL9s5h
— NBA (@NBA) August 25, 2023
Those north-of-the-border talents weren’t the only NBA stars to shine on the opening day of matches. Karl-Anthony Towns recorded a double-double to help guide the Dominican Republic past the Philippines, while both Patty Mills and Josh Giddey paved the way for Australia’s rout of Lauri Markkanen’s Finland.
Germany also started things off with a win and is stacked with players that any NBA fan would recognize. Isaac Bonga, Daniel Theis, Dennis Schröder and the Wagner brothers, Moritz and Franz, make up the German roster that will strive for gold.
Spain, the defending champs, is also loaded with NBA talent. Santi Aldama, Juan Hernangomez and Usman Garuba will look to make it back-to-back championships.
We wouldn’t be doing our duty if we didn’t mention Luka Dončić. One of the top players in the NBA, the Slovenian superstar is clearly the biggest name participating in this year’s tournament.
Chances are, whichever country ends up in the winner’s circle will have a squad led by at least one NBA player. The league is full of global talent, and there’s no better stage to showcase that on than the FIBA Tournament. Happy hoops-watching to fans of every background.