Paris Olympics: What to know and who to watch during the men’s basketball competition

A roadmap to follow for the men’s basketball competition during the Paris Olympics:

ATHLETES TO WATCH

—LeBron James, United States: The NBA’s all-time scoring leader seeks his third Olympic gold medal (2008, 2012) and returns to the Games for the first time in 12 years. At 39, James presumably is playing in his final Olympics.

—Kevin Durant, United States: He is seeking to become the first four-time men’s basketball gold medalist, after helping the U.S. win gold at Tokyo in 2021, Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and London in 2012.

—Victor Wembanyama, France: The NBA rookie of the year and runner-up for defensive player of the year (behind French teammate Rudy Gobert) will be one of the faces of the Paris Games.

—Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada: The runner-up in this season’s NBA MVP voting behind Nikola Jokic of Serbia (another likely Olympic player this summer) will be asked to help deliver Canada a medal. It’s not out of reach, as proven by Canada’s bronze at the World Cup last summer.

—Stephen Curry, United States: The NBA’s all-time 3-point leader will make his Olympic debut at age 36.

STORYLINES TO FOLLOW

—The drive for five. Can the U.S. win gold for a fifth consecutive Olympics, or has the world caught up to the Americans? France figures to have perhaps the best chance at ending the U.S. reign. And four teams will clinch their spots and round out the 12-nation field in July, barely two weeks before the Olympics begin, so they’ll have some momentum.

—Wemby. Victor Wembanyama’s first season in the NBA didn’t disappoint, and now he’ll take his game to the biggest stage in the sport.

—South Sudan. Officially a nation for only about 13 years, the African country is headed to the Olympics for the first time.

KEY DATES

—July 27-Aug. 3, group games.

—Aug. 6, quarterfinals.

—Aug. 8, semifinals.

—Aug. 10, gold-medal and bronze-medal games.

REIGNING CHAMPION

The U.S. beat France for the gold medal at the Tokyo Games, the fourth consecutive Olympic title for the Americans.

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AP Summer Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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