Arguably one of the marquee events of the Olympic competition is the men's basketball category, and the spotlight is always certain to shine on the USA Basketball team entirely made up of NBA players. Since 1988 after a loss at the Seoul Olympics, the decision was then made to cast professional NBA ballplayers into the Olympic Games. The International Basketball Federation, better known as FIBA, agreed in April 1989 to allow the professionals to play in the Olympics, despite American and Russian votes against the proposal.
The arrival of the "Dream Team" was heralded, as Sports Illustrated was the first to nickname the American roster the "Dream Team" on the cover of its February 18, 1991 issue. The team featured NBA elites Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, David Robinson and others and they produced a level of excitement not just among the viewing audiences but also among the other Olympic athletes within the Olympic Village as well.
Flash forward many years hence and with the strong popularity of the National Basketball Association overseas with foreign audiences, and especially the signing of international talent, it is not unusual to find rosters of Olympic teams carrying some very familiar (and not so familiar) names of NBA players that have opted to represent countries of their birthright that are competing in the Olympics. And so it is expected that approximately 47 NBA players will be representing 10 of the 12 countries and come from 24 of the NBA's 30 teams, at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Actually, only China and Venezuela would be without players with active NBA playing experience, but of course does not include players they suit up with past playing experience and players whose draft rights are held by NBA teams.
Here is a listing of the lineup selected to represent the men's USA basketball team. The final roster includes: Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks).
Next, here is a run down of NBA players participating in Olympic competition for international teams. Ricky Rubio of Minnesota for Spain. Sergio Rodriguez of Philadelphia for Spain. Nikola Mirotic of Chicago for Spain. Willy Hernangomez of New York for Spain. Pau Gasol of San Antonio for Spain. Jose Calderon of Chicago for Spain. Alex Abrines of Oklahoma City for Spain. Nikola Jokic of Denver for Serbia. Michael Gbinije of Detroit for Nigeria. Al-Farouq Aminu of Portland for Nigeria. Jonas Valanciunas of Toronto for Lithuania. Domantas Sabonis of Oklahoma City for Lithuania. Mindaugas Kuzminskas of New York for Lithuania. Tony Parker of San Antonio for France. Joffrey Lauvergne of Denver for France. Rudy Gobert of Utah for France. Boris Diaw of Utah for France. Nicolas Batum of Charlotte for France. Dario Saric of Philadelphia for Croatia. Mario Hezonja of Orlando for Croatia. Bojan Bogdanovic of Brooklyn for Croatia. Raul Neto of Utah for Brazil. Marcelo Huertas of Los Angeles (Lakers) for Brazil. Nene Hilario of Houston for Brazil. Cristiano Felicio of Chicago for Brazil. Leandro Barbosa of Phoenix for Brazil. Patty Mills of San Antonio for Australia. Joe Ingles of Utah for Australia. Matthew Dellavedova of Milwaukee for Australia. Andrew Bogut of Dallas for Australia. Aron Baynes of Detroit for Australia. Luis Scola of Brooklyn for Argentina. Manu Ginobili of San Antonio for Argentina. Patricio Garino of San Antonio for Argentina. Nicolas Brussino of Dallas for Argentina.
It is also worthwhile to note that some Olympic basketball players that may have never played in an NBA game, nor signed an NBA contract, have been claimed by an NBA tean in the annual draft giving those teams draft rights to a particular team. Those players involved in the 2016 Rio Olympics include: Sergio Llull of Spain drafted by Houston in the 2009; Milan Macvan of Serbia, drafted by Cleveland in 2011; Bogdan Bogdanovic of Serbia, drafted by Sacramento in 2014; Ronaldas Seibutis of Lithuania, drafted by Dallas in 2007; Robertas Javtokas of Lithuania, drafted by San Antonio in 2001; Zhou Qi of China, drafted by Houston in 2016; Wang Zhelin of Chia, drafted by Memphis in 2016.
USA Basketball unveils 2016 Olympic team roster (NBA Official Release, June 27, 2016)
1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team (Wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_United_States_men%27s_Olympic_basketball_team
Olympics will feature NBA talent well beyond USA roster, by John Schumann (NBA.com, July 30, 2016)