USA Basketball at The UC
Many of the NBA’s top stars will play together at the United Center in an All-Star Game, of sorts. Team USA hosts Brazil in a pre-World Cup exhibition matchup.
The United Center has never hosted the NBA All-Star Game. But fans will get to see the NBA’s best when USA Basketball makes a stop in Chicago on August 16 in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
The World Cup takes place once every four years. This year it’s between August 30 and September 13 in six Spanish cities, with 24 teams divided into four groups. The rounds work similarly to the FIFA World Cup; the top four from each six-team group move on to the bracket round. All games in the bracket take place in Madrid or Barcelona with the final in Madrid.
While basketball is most popular here in the US and the NBA is the world’s most valuable professional basketball association, Yugoslavia has the most FIBA World Cup titles all time with five. USA Basketball is known for dominating the Olympics with 14 Gold Medals in 18 competitions, but less US stars choose to play the World Cup. The 2012 Olympic team also had LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and many more, while only Durant from that list will play FIBA.
Team USA did bring home the title in 2010, beating Turkey in the final with a team that included Chauncey Billups, Durant, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, and Tyson Chandler. Durant took home MVP and Rose added eight points.
Familiar faces and new additions will be on the court for the exhibition game. More roster cuts will be made between now and when they take the UC court, but 15 of the following players will be there:
- Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
- Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
- John Wall, Washington Wizards
- Damien Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
- Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
- DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
- James Harden, Houston Rockets
- Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
- Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
- Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
- Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz
- Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks
- Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
- Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
- DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
- Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
The team’s roster changes also show the evolution of the NBA. Davis was entering his senior year in high school during the last World Cup. First-time participant Paul George horrifically broke his leg in yesterday’s intrasquad scrimmage Blue and White Game, robbing the team of one of its best. Bulls fans will be pleased to hear that Derrick Rose looked like the explosive D-Rose of old.
Greece, ranked #5 in the FIBA World Rankings, features just one NBA player in Milwaukee Buck Giannis Antetokounmpo. Greece has never won a World Cup but lost in the final game in 2006 and placed fourth in 1994 and 1998.
The first game in the World Cup group stage will be August 30 against Finland in Barakaldo, Spain.
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images