Basketball fans don’t to wait until October and the start of the NBA season this year to see NBA stars in action. The FIBA Basketball World Cup starts at the end of the month and features more than 50 NBA players, including reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for Greece, Nikola Jokic for Serbia, Rudy Gobert for France, and the entire 12-man roster for Team USA.
The tournament takes place in China and features 32 teams from around the globe. Here’s what you need to know to watch when the games begin on Aug. 31.
Which countries are playing?
The tournament has expanded from 24 teams to 32, which are organized into eight groups of four teams each:
- Group A: China, Cote d’Ivoire, Poland, Venezuela
- Group B: Argentina, Korea, Nigeria, Russia
- Group C: Iran, Puerto Rico, Spain, Tunisia
- Group D: Angola, Italy, Philippines, Serbia
- Group E: Czech Republic, Japan, Turkey, United States
- Group F: Brazil, Greece, Montenegro, New Zealand
- Group G: Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Jordan
- Group H: Australia, Canada, Lithuania, Senegal
After playing the other three teams in the group, the top two teams from each group will advance to the second round of the group phase. Teams will play two games each in the second group-phase round, and the top two teams from the four groups will advance to an eight-team, single-elimination tournament.
What is the tournament schedule look like?
The first round of the group phase takes place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5.
The second round of the group phase take place from Sept. 6 to Sept. 9.
The quarterfinals take place on Sept. 10 and 11.
The semifinals take place on Sept. 13.
The final game takes place on Sept. 15.
Which players are on Team USA?
After Anthony Davis, James Harden, Damian Lillard and other stars withdrew from the team, the US is short on NBA talent relative to past years. It should make for a competitive tournament and a difficult task for the US to claim its third straight FIBA World Cup championship. Here’s the roster for Team USA:
- Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)
- Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
- Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets)
- Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
- Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets)
- Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)
- Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
- Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
- Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
- Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs)
When does the US play?
Here’s the schedule for Team USA in the first round of group play:
- Sunday, Sept. 1 vs. Czech Republic at 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m. PT)
- Tuesday, Sept. 3 vs. Turkey, 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m. PT)
- Thursday, Sept. 5 vs. Japan, 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m. PT)
How can I watch?
The tournament will not be shown on broadcast or cable TV. All games will be show on ESPN Plus, which is ESPN’s standalone streaming service. It requires no contract and costs $5 a month or $50 a year.
You can watch ESPN+ on Samsung smart TVs and other TVs using a media streamer, such as a Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV or Chromecast. You can also watch using PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Oculus Go ($199 at Amazon). And you can watch on iPhones, iPads ($249 at Walmart), Android phones, tablets and PC browsers.