Even when it’s not the Olympics, I love International basketball.
The USA Basketball team routinely beats up on the other countries. It’s always a good revenge tournament for the FIFA World Cup, when the United States Men’s Soccer team is celebrated for just making it out of the group stage.
But, aside from enjoying the USA’s dismantling of other nations, International basketball is also an opportunity for us to learn more about the NBA players that participate.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we — or, at least, I — began to suspect that LeBron James, who finished with the second-highest scoring and assist averages and the third-highest rebounding average, was beginning to surpass Kobe Bryant as the world’s greatest player.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Carmelo Anthony proved, when surrounded with talent, just how prolific of a scorer he can be. Against Nigeria, he set the U.S. men’s Olympic team record for most points in a single game, scoring 37 in less than three quarters.
Now, we’re just weeks away from the start of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Here are five players that, like LeBron in 2008 and Melo in 2012, have something to prove this summer.