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Everything you need to know about the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Basketball competition

LeBron James (#6) of the United States high-fives his teammates Chris Paul (#13) and Kevin Durant (#5)
LeBron James (#6) of the United States high-fives his teammates Chris Paul (#13) and Kevin Durant (#5)
ANALYST
Modified 28 Apr 2021
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A total of 24 elite nations will battle for two gold medals (Men's basketball and Women's basketball) at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the Japanese capital this summer.

The star-studded United States Men's Basketball team will look to win their fourth straight gold in the competition scheduled to take place in July and August 2021. Team USA have won medals in 28 of the 30 men's and women's Olympic Games basketball competitions over the years.

Three days after the 2021 NBA Finals conclude, the reigning Olympic men's basketball champion, the United States, will lock horns with France in their Tokyo 2020 Olympics opener on July 25 in Saitama, Japan. Meanwhile, the women's competition will commence with South Korea locking horns with Spain a day later.

So, without further ado, here is everything you need to know about the Olympic Basketball competition in Tokyo this summer.

NBA and WNBA presence at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

(Left to right) Paul George , Draymond Green and Carmelo Anthony stand on the podium with gold medals
(Left to right) Paul George , Draymond Green and Carmelo Anthony stand on the podium with gold medals

.The NBA and the WNBA will continue to reign supreme on the international stage, as it will feature plenty of stars from the two popular American basketball leagues.

The two associations are also home to some marquee names hailing from across the seas. With over 100 international players in the NBA, most international teams will feature at least one player who has played in the association in the past or present.

The NBA will end its regular season in May, with the Olympic qualifiers to follow a month later. Meanwhile, teams that go deep in the 2021 NBA Playoffs could miss out on Olympic action due to the wear and tear of the postseason.

The playoffs are also expected to have an impact on the European basketball squads in Tokyo.

NBA superstars like the LA Lakers' LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant could be absent from this edition of the Olympic Men's basketball tournament.

But that will be of little concern to legendary coach Gregg Popovich, who will be at the helm of Team USA. Popovich's side will have the luxury of choosing from a who's who of NBA stars who can get the job done in the star trio's absence.

Nevertheless, Team USA could face stiff competition from 2004 champions Argentina, who beat the USA for the Gold Medal in one of the greatest upsets of all time. However, the reigning men's world champions Spain are favorites to meet Team USA in the final once again.

The women's tournament is also expected to be dominated by Team USA, who have won every gold medal since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. WNBA stars Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner and Jewell Loyd could lead their team to their seventh consecutive gold medal in Tokyo.

Like the NBA, the WNBA is home to some of the leading female basketball stars in the world. Coach Dawn Staley will be in charge of Team USA women's basketball team.

The American women will arrive at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, having won eight, including six of the last eleven editions of the competition, with the Soviet Union (1976, 1980) and Unified Team (1992) winning the other three.

What will be the makeup of Team USA Men's basketball team?

Stephen Curry (#30) of the Golden State Warriors could make his debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Stephen Curry (#30) of the Golden State Warriors could make his debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Team USA will choose their final team members from a pool of 57 players. Three-time gold medalist LeBron James is expected to join two-time gold medallists Kevin Durant and Chris Paul for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

If James decides to suit up for the tournament, he will join Carmelo Anthony as the only two male players to appear in four US Olympic teams.

Other marquee names under consideration include Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, Draymond Green, James Harden, Dwight Howard, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry and Russell Westbrook.

Two new faces, Kawhi Leonard and Stephen Curry have shown interest in competing in the Olympics for the first time in their careers. If Leonard does make his debut, he will do so under his former coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.

"With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it's important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible," said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of USA Basketball men's national team. "These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that."

The new set of players who were not part of the original pool created in 2020 are the New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson,

# Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat)

# Jarret Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers)

# Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons)

# Blake Griffin (Brooklyn Nets)

# Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)

# Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls)

# Julius Randle (New York Knicks)

# Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks)

# Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors)

# Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)

# Eric Gordon (Atlanta Hawks)

# John Wall (Houston Rockets)

# Christian Wood (Houston Rockets).

No tryouts will take place this year due to health and safety concerns. A selection committee will finalise the 12-member Olympic team by early summer.

A Training camp will commence in Las Vegas on 2 July, three weeks before the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Olympic Basketball schedule at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The men's basketball tournament in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will run from 25 July to 7 August 2021, while the women's tournament will take place from 26 July to 8 August 2021.

Pool games will end on 1 August (men) / 2 August (women). The tournament schedule has been listed below (Japan Standard Time, GMT/UTC +9 hours)::

Image courtsey: FIBA
Image courtsey: FIBA

Men’s Quarter-finals:

Tuesday, Aug 3 (10:00, 13:40, 17:20, 21:00).

Men’s Semi-finals:

Thursday, Aug 5 (13:15, 20:00).

Men’s Final/ Bronze Medal game:

Gold medal game: Saturday, Aug 7 (11:30 – 13:30).

Bronze medal game: Saturday, Aug 7 (20:00 – 22:30).

Image courtesy: FIBA
Image courtesy: FIBA

Women’s Quarter-finals:

Wednesday, Aug 4 (10:00, 13:40, 17:20, 21:00).

Women’s Semi-finals:

Friday, Aug 6 (13:40, 20:00).

Women’s Bronze medal game:

Saturday, Aug 7 (16:00).

Women’s Gold medal game:

Sunday, Aug 8 (11:30).

Click here for the complete schedule (Please note: all times are in Japan Standard Time).

Olympic basketball venue at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

NBA player Ben McLemore takes selfies with fans prior to the preseason game between Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets at Saitama Super Arena.
NBA player Ben McLemore takes selfies with fans prior to the preseason game between Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets at Saitama Super Arena.

Saitama Super Arena will host all the basketball games in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Saitama city is part of the Greater Tokyo metropolitan area, just north of the capital.

One of the largest indoor arenas in the world, the Saitama Super Arena has hosted two NBA regular-season games and the 2006 FIBA World Championship, among many other notable sporting events.

Olympic Basketball competition format at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics:

A total of 12 teams will take part in both men's and women's competitions. The teams will be split into three groups of four teams each, playing a single round-robin.

The outcome of the preliminary matchups will decide the teams that advance to the knockout stage of the competition. The top two teams in each of the three groups will be joined by the two best third-placed teams in the last eight.

The quarter-finals of the two basketball competitions are set to commence on 3 August; the semi-finals will take place two days later on 5 August, while the two finals are scheduled on 7th and 8th August, respectively.

Published 28 Apr 2021
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