MANILA, Philippines – There will be no shortage of star power in the FIBA World Cup draw.
Basketball icons Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, and Luis Scola will grace the event at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, April 29, as the groupings for the 32 participating nations will be determined.
Germany’s Nowitzki and Argentina’s Scola arrived in the country on Thursday, April 27, while Yao landed on Friday, April 28.
The three all left a mark in the NBA and in the international scene.
A member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, Nowitzki powered Germany to a bronze-medal finish in the 2002 World Cup, where he also emerged as the tournament MVP.
Nowitzki retired in 2019, ending his illustrious career as arguably the greatest Dallas Mavericks player in franchise history after guiding the team to its first and only championship in 2011.
Scola led Argentina to great heights, including a rousing gold-medal triumph in the Olympics and a pair of runner-up finishes in the World Cup.
With Scola – who shone in the NBA during his time with Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns – in tow, Argentina shocked the world by ruling the 2004 Games and snagged silver in the 2002 and 2019 World Cups.
Meanwhile, Yao turned China into a competitive team during the peak of his powers, which also saw him make an All-NBA Team five times throughout his eight-season stint with the Rockets.
The 7-foot-6 giant anchored China to back-to-back quarterfinal appearances in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics – its highest finish in Games history.
Now the president of the Chinese Basketball Association, Yao also earned the Top Scorer honors in the 2006 World Cup.
More hoop stars in the form of Team USA legend Carmelo Anthony and Spain great Pau Gasol, who serve as World Cup ambassadors together with Scola, are expected to attend the draw.
Performances by American singer-rapper Saweetie and Filipino artists Sarah Geronimo and Billy Crawford will spice up the event. – Rappler.com