To borrow an old NBA slogan, "Where amazing happens."
Mark Tatum, NBA deputy commissioner and representative of the league to FIBA, knows the potential reverberations that the upcoming FIBA World Cup can bring to the basketball world.
Hosted in not one but three countries, all in Asia, Tatum sees the international tournament making huge waves in the region, comparing it to how the 1992 USA Dream Team opened up basketball to the young kids of Europe, a place that’s crazy for football.
And for FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis, this year’s edition of the quadrennial meet could very well define this era of hoops.
“It’s a special World Cup,” Zagklis told Playitright TV.
One thing that makes it special is the abundance of talent that’s bound to come to Manila, Okinawa, and Jakarta. More than a handful of NBA stars are expected to play for their countries, and each of the participating nations also have their own crop of hoopers who can hold their own against NBA pros.
With the enormity of the championship at stake and the tourney’s link to qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the stage is set for an intense product of basketball that may transcend generations.
“I have no doubt that the fans will experience unforgettable moments,” said Zagklis. “They will have then a lot to say to the next generation, [like] ‘I was there in 2023 in Manila.’”
The FIBA secretary general also emphasized the importance of the role of the host nations, which are taking on a significant responsibility in this undertaking.
“The three co-hosts are really top-level. Together with top-level conditions come the top-level performance of the athletes,” said Zagklis.
The FIBA World Cup will commence on August 25, with the group phase jumpstarting in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. In the final phase, all the competition will be played in Manila.
If you want stories to tell your grandkids, perhaps now is the time to plan your vacation leaves—if you haven't yet.