Basketball fans in the Middle Kingdom are in for a real treat! FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 will tip off in eight cities around China – the first time the tournament has ever been held in the country.
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Nanjing, Dongguan and Foshan will welcome elite ballers from 31 participating countries (and one territory), a record number of squads for the global basketball competition.
Image via @fibawc/Instagram
The games will run from August 31 to September 15, with two rounds of group phase before moving to a 16-team, single-elimination tournament. In the early stages, Beijingers can watch China go toe-to-toe with Venezuela, Poland and Cote d’Ivoire. In Shanghai, the USA leads a group with Turkey, Japan and the Czech Republic. Down in the Greater Bay Area, you can catch Spain, Italy, Serbia, France, Canada, Australia and more great teams go head-to-head.
After the group stage, quarterfinals matches will be held in Dongguan and Shanghai before moving to Beijing for the semi-finals and final game.
For those not familiar with FIBA Basketball World Cup – it’s the real deal. Many of the NBA’s budding stars and savvy vets toss on their country’s jersey and ball out with pride.
This year, the Americans are the favorites after taking home the gold in the two previous FIBA World Cups. Led by the best in the business, Coach Gregg Popovich, the US team is notably fielding less star power than previous tournaments. Kyle Lowry, Harrison Barnes and Kemba Walker are set to battle alongside their young teammates to secure their nation’s third consecutive gold medal, while also trying to automatically qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Image via @usabasketball/Instagram
However, nothing is set in stone, with very strong squads in Canada, Australia, Spain and Serbia vying for the coveted gold.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, dubbed the ‘Greek Freak,’ is widely considered the cream of the crop in the basketball world after securing his first-ever NBA Most Valuable Player award. He recently stated he would exchange his hard-earned MVP title for the gold medal in China. Giannis and his two brothers will be leading the Greek squad in the pursuit of becoming world champions.
Image via @giannis_an34/Instagram
Below, we give you a breakdown of the tournament schedule for each city, providing venue locations and ticket links.
[Cover image via NBA/FIBA]