Bogdan Bogdanovic was 10 years old and living in Belgrade, Serbia, and life was coming at him fast. He was torn between committing to soccer, the sport he refers to as “the real football,” or basketball, the beautiful game that led Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic across oceans, around the world, ultimately into the arms of the increasingly global NBA. Sixteen years later, the Kings rookie known as “Bogi” remembers where he was, what he was doing, what he was thinking, when lightning struck. “I was watching the final game of the World Championships in Indianapolis (in 2002),” Bogdanovic recalled, “and when we won that gold medal with Vlade and Peja, I said, ‘I decide. Let’s go basketball.’ That was an amazing moment for my country.”
With the NBA not releasing players except in off-season windows, the players from the biggest league on the planet are limited in terms of availability. Baumann sees a roadmap, albeit a difficult one, where the NBA could eventually make the decision on its own to consider adapting fully to the new international window format. “The NBA is a league that is around 70 years. Since the 1960s they play exclusively as a domestic league, it’s a closed league and they live in their space which fits the US sports scenario. We have an excellent relationship with the NBA since the end of the 1980s. The relationship is clear, the NBA will release players as long as it’s outside their season. We respect the history, my predecessor [Borislav Stankovic] made that deal with David Stern, and the NBA respects us. Today, the G League frees the players,” said Baumann. “In terms of ambition, things only change when you start losing on the court. If the game is global and the NBA wants to dominate globally, then who knows whether they will have to think of a different schedule,”
Marc Stein: Alonzo Gee, Travis Wear, Terrence Jones, Larry Drew II and David Stockton are among the NBA vets chosen for the @usabasketball squad to face Mexico during All-Star Weekend and then play for Jeff Van Gundy in two @FIBAWC qualifiers this month, according to league sources.
Jeff Zillgitt: Also, Semaj Christon, who played for the U.S. in the November World Cup qualifying games, has been invited back, I’ve been told, for qualifying team training camp in preparation of February World Cup qualifying games. Aaron Harrison also one of 14 players invited.
The future of international basketball will come together next week in Los Angeles during All-Star Weekend as part of the fourth annual Basketball Without Borders Global Camp (BWB), a joint venture of the NBA and FIBA. The 43 prospects, ranging in age from 16 to 18 and from 36 countries, will get measured, undergo athletic testing, practice, scrimmage and conduct drills under the watchful eyes of representatives of all 30 NBA teams at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility. Participants will also attend daily seminars for life skills and take in the Rising Stars challenge, dunk contest, 3-point shootout and All-Star Game at Staples Center.
This year’s camp will be headlined by Sekou Doumbouya (France), Luka Samanic (Croatia), Killian Hayes (France), N’Faly Dante (Mali), Charles Bassey (Nigeria) and others. Doumbouya and Samanic are both projected as top-10 picks in the 2019 draft, having dominated the Under-18 European Championships despite playing up a year or two on the competition. Doumbouya, a strong and explosive power forward with soft touch on his jumper, is already playing professional basketball in France’s second division, and he’s fresh off an impressive 26-point outing (on 12 attempts) this past weekend. Samanic is a versatile, 6-foot-11 power forward whose game is tailor-made for a camp of this setting with his ability to dribble, pass, shoot and defend multiple positions.
Egyptian-American basketball player, Abdel Nader, who plays for NBA’s Boston Celtics is now eligible to represent the Egyptian basketball team. The Egyptian born, who was added to the Celtics roster ahead of the 2017/2018 season opener after being named NBA-G league Rookie of the Year for the 2016/2017 season, agreed to represent Egypt in the second phase of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup African qualifications.