Paris Olympics: What to know, who to watch in men's basketball

Paris Olympics: What to know and who to watch in men’s basketball

/ 01:24 PM June 02, 2024

LeBron James Paris Olympics USA basketball

FILE – United States’ Lebron James looks up the court during the first half of a preliminary men’s basketball game against France at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 29, 2012, in London. The NBA’s all-time scoring leader seeks his third Olympic gold medal (2008, 2012) and returns to the Games for the first time in 12 years. At 39, James presumably is playing in his final Olympics. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

A roadmap to follow for the men’s basketball competition during the Paris Olympics:

ATHLETES TO WATCH

—LeBron James, United States: The NBA’s all-time scoring leader seeks his third Olympic gold medal (2008, 2012) and returns to the Games for the first time in 12 years. At 39, James presumably is playing in his final Olympics.

—Kevin Durant, United States: He is seeking to become the first four-time men’s basketball gold medalist, after helping the U.S. win gold at Tokyo in 2021, Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and London in 2012.

FEATURED STORIES

READ: LeBron, Durant, Steph Curry lead Team USA for Paris Olympics

—Victor Wembanyama, France: The NBA rookie of the year and runner-up for defensive player of the year (behind French teammate Rudy Gobert) will be one of the faces of the Paris Games.

—Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada: The runner-up in this season’s NBA MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic of Serbia (another likely Olympic player this summer) will be asked to help deliver Canada a medal. It’s not out of reach, as proven by Canada’s bronze at the World Cup last summer.

—Stephen Curry, United States: The NBA’s all-time 3-point leader will make his Olympic debut at age 36.

STORYLINES TO FOLLOW

Victor Wembanyama France Paris Olympics

FILE – French coach Vincent Collet speaks to Victor Wembanyama before the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers match between France and Bosnia Herzegovina in Pau, southwestern France, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. The NBA rookie of the year and runner-up for defensive player of the year will be one of the faces of the Paris Games. (AP Photo/Bob Edme, File)

—The drive for five. Can the U.S. win gold for a fifth consecutive Olympics, or has the world caught up to the Americans? France figures to have perhaps the best chance at ending the U.S. reign. And four teams will clinch their spots and round out the 12-nation field in July, barely two weeks before the Olympics begin, so they’ll have some momentum.

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—Wemby. Victor Wembanyama’s first season in the NBA didn’t disappoint, and now he’ll take his game to the biggest stage in the sport.

READ: Wembanyama leads France’s preliminary roster for Paris Olympics

—South Sudan. Officially a nation for only about 13 years, the African country is headed to the Olympics for the first time.

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KEY DATES

—July 27-Aug. 3, group games.

—Aug. 6, quarterfinals.

—Aug. 8, semifinals.

—Aug. 10, gold-medal and bronze-medal games.

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REIGNING CHAMPION

The U.S. beat France for the gold medal at the Tokyo Games, the fourth consecutive Olympic title for the Americans.

Follow Inquirer Sports’ special coverage of the Paris Olympics 2024.

TAGS: Paris Olympics, USA Basketball

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