The 2019 Basketball World Cup had 54 NBA players showing off their skills, up from 45 in the previous competition. There were a total of 32 nations represented, and 25 of those countries had at least one player from the NBA. The combined list, which includes any player with NBA experience or had been drafted, was a total of 103, again up from 2014, which was 93.
The NBA franchise with the most players represented was the Boston Celtics, who had six players from their roster at the World Cup. Four of those Celtics players were part of the uninspiring American team that seriously underperformed.
The pre-tournament favorites came seventh after losing to France in the knockout rounds. The Sacramento Kings and Milwaukee Bucks were also well represented at the World Cup, with each franchise seeing five players in China.
Although most of the NBA’s major stars sat out playing at the World Cup, Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo made an impact. The league’s MVP played valiantly but was unable to help Greece progress past the first group stage. Marc Gasol was representing the newly crowned NBA champions, Toronto, and it proved to be a continuation of his success. Gasol helped Spain become the world champions in China.
The number of NBA stars playing the FIBA Basketball World Cup shows that people are beginning to take it more seriously. Considering the United States’ underperformance, it’s likely next time around a stronger team will be formed.