If you are a fan of the NBA, the 2016 Olympics will be one for the ages. This years tournament will not be exciting because the NBA has sent another super team to represent the US in Rio.
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That is always the exciting part for anyone living in the United States, primarily. However, this year the 2016 Olympics will feature 47 NBA players represented on teams from around the world. Eleven of the twelve countries playing Olympic basketball this summer will feature at least one NBA player on its roster, sans China.
This means the NBA is slowly realizing its vision of growing the game globally, and the league is coming into alignment with players from around the world interested in professional basketball.
The San Antonio Spurs have at least six players represented in the games, that are either current or former players. USA Basketball chose Kawhi Leonard to participate in Rio, but he recently declined citing the birth of his first child.
The names of the other six players are Pau Gasol, Aron Baynes, Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, Tony Parker, and Patty Mills. Not counting former players, the Spurs have four players currently
Jul 21, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Argentina guard Manu Ginobili is seen at Mendenhall Center. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports
involved in the upcoming games in Rio, which ties them with the Utah Jazz for the most players representing a team that is not a part of USA Basketball.
Most of the aforementioned players and their teams are all in the same bracket in Group B. Since Team USA is in Group A, it is highly unlikely fans will see any of them matchup with the US, unless it is in a medal round game.
This will be Parker, and Ginobili’s last international tournament, and fans are keeping their fingers crossed that they stay healthy, and fresh enough to play well throughout next season, and the playoffs.
The Spurs always seemed to be ahead of the curve on gathering international athletes, so it’s no surprise even now, that they are one of two teams with the most international NBA players represented.