My earliest experience with international basketball came all the way back in 1992. My brother came home one day with what was a prized possession: a Larry Bird Dream Team jersey. Being all of eight years old, I quickly became obsessed with that jersey and what it represented. I can't remember actually watching the Dream Team play, but it's always been a strong memory.
Years later, when Team USA reached a low point from 2002-04, when we finished sixth in the World Championships and won the bronze medal in the Olympics, my interest flared up again. Ten years later, Team USA has been rebuilt from the ground up, and features a steady pipeline of interested American players ready to represent their country. If you watched the Olympics in 2008 or 2012 or the World Championship (renamed the basketball World Cup) in 2010, you can understand why I love this kind of basketball. It's so pure and brilliant. The best players in the world on the court playing really hard? It's awesome. The Mavericks' Chandler Parsons is one of the elite players still in consideration for a roster spot.
This year's basketball World Cup takes place in Spain from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14. Team USA will play five games during group play and as many as four games during the knockout rounds. They also play three exhibition games starting today. All times are local.
Saturday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. - Team USA vs Brazil on ESPN
Monday, Aug. 18 at 1 p.m. - Team USA Hoops for Troops Exhibition
Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. - Team USA vs Dominican Republic on NBA TV a
Friday, Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. - Team USA vs Puerto Rico on ESPN2
Tuesday, Aug. 26h at 1 p.m. - Team USA vs Slovenia on ESPN2
Saturday, Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m. - Team USA vs Finland on ESPN/ESPN3
Sunday, Aug. 31 at 2:30 p.m. - Team USA vs Turkey ESPN/ESPN3
Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 10:30 a.m. - Team USA vs New Zealand ESPN/ESPN3
Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 2:30 p.m. - Team USA vs Dominican Republic ESPN/ESPN3
Thursday, Sept. 4 at 10:30 a.m. - Team USA vs Ukraine ESPN/ESPN3
Round of 16 (if Team USA advances)
Saturday, Sept. 6/Sunday Sept. 7 at TBD - Depends on advancement
Quarterfinals (if Team USA advances)
Tuesday, Sept. 9/Wednesday, Sept. 10 at TBD - Depends on advancement
Semifinals (if Team USA advances)
Thursday, Sept. 11/Friday, Sept. 12 at TBD - Depends on advancement
Championship game (if Team USA advances)
Saturday, Sept 13 at TBD - Bronze Medal Game
Sunday, Sept. 14 at TBD - Gold Medal game