US men's basketball team has to 'come to play' in Paris Olympics

Team USA has to ‘come to play’ in Paris Olympics, says Carmelo

/ 06:13 PM March 20, 2024

FIBA ambassador Carmelo Anthony Team USA

Paris 2024 Olympics – Olympic Basketball Tournament Draw – Patrick Baumann House of Basketball, Mies, Switzerland – March 19, 2024 FIBA ambassador Carmelo Anthony during the draw REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

MIES, Switzerland– The U.S. men’s basketball team, the reigning Olympic champions, will have to “come to play” at the Paris Games where host France will be eager to dethrone the 16-time gold medal winners, former NBA star Carmelo Anthony said on Tuesday.

The United States will face a strong Serbia team, first-time Olympians South Sudan and the winners of a qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico in July in the Olympic tournament’s Group C after the draw was made at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) headquarters in Switzerland.

“As a country, as Americans, we understand that we have to come to play,” said Anthony, who helped the U.S. to three Olympic gold medals and spent most of his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks.

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“It’s in France. France has a really, really good team. They’re going to be trying to protect their home court and do what they have to do for their own fans and their own country. It’s going to be exciting.”

France — who lost the final to the United States by five points at the Tokyo Games in 2020 and are still seeking an Olympic title after finishing second three times — will face Germany, Japan and the winner of a qualifying tournament in Latvia in Group B.

Four slots in the men’s draw have been reserved for the winners of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments that will be held July 2-7 in Latvia’s Riga, Valencia in Spain, Piraeus in Greece and Puerto Rico’s San Juan.

READ: Draws for 2024 Paris Olympics basketball tournaments

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In the women’s tournament, the United States – the nine-time Olympic champions which like its male counterparts won gold at the Tokyo Games – will play Germany, Japan and Belgium in the group stage.

“They’re at the pinnacle of the game,” Penny Taylor, who helped Australia win Olympic silver medals at the 2004 and 2008 Games, said of the Americans.

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“I think every group has their level of difficulty. But I think obviously the USA, Belgium, and Japan in one group, that’s a challenge.”

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