25 August, 2023
10 September
Mark Tatum highlights NBA’s commitment to grow the game with world basketball family
to read

NBA's Mark Tatum on World Cup: ''The level of basketball will be unprecedented"

MANILA (Philippines) - The FIBA Basketball World Cup to be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia "is going to be incredible" according to NBA Deputy Commissioner and FIBA Central Board Member Mark Tatum.

In Manila to attend the recent FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Draw presented by Wanda, Tatum spoke to One News and expressed a lot of enthusiasm about the event that tips off on August 25 and concludes September 10.

"I think it’s going to be incredible," he said. "Team USA is going to be stationed here in the Philippines for the entirety of the competition but there's going to be 32 teams in the competition.

"Twenty of them at least are going to have some NBA players. NBA players are going to be everywhere at this World Cup."

The talent level in basketball around the world has never been higher, something Tatum cited when he gave the number of international players in the NBA.

"Twenty-five percent of NBA players today were born outside the United States," he said. That's over 120 players in our league that were not born in the United States. There is going to be an amazing (World Cup) competition here because the level of basketball in this World Cup will be unprecedented."

Slovenia superstar Luka Doncic, who competes for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, is playing at the World Cup

Basketball is hugely popular in Asia yet Tatum believes the World Cup is going to take interest in basketball to new heights on the continent.

"I think there is going to be a tremendous amount of momentum that happens in this region coming out of this World Cup," he said.

"One of the things that sparked interest in the international game was the 1992 Dream Team, when we first sent NBA players to participate in the Olympics (in Barcelona), and that team inspired future generations of NBA players.


"That, I think, is going to be the legacy that this World Cup leaves and then one day, soon, there will be a homegrown player from the Philippines who ends up playing in the NBA because they saw NBA players here and they grew up wanting to be an NBA player."

Tatum says that the NBA's strong partnership with FIBA has been great for basketball around the world.

"They are a terrific partner of ours, a longstanding partner, going back to the 1992 Olympics and now, the NBA, and I represent the NBA on the FIBA Executive Committee and the Central Board of FIBA … so we've done collaborations with them.

"The Basketball Without Borders program that we do together, that brings together the best basketball players on continents together for training, development, and life skills, too. We think that's important to instill, too, in these young kids and this generation.

"We launched a league together in Africa, the Basketball Africa League. We work very closely with FIBA and the federations in every single country to create these grassroots programs and junior NBA programs.

"The thing we have in common with FIBA is that we want basketball to be the number one sport in the world. Even on this World Cup, we're coordinating with them, the local organizing committee, sharing with them our expertise, how to deal with player programs.

"We deal with players all the time at the NBA level. Here, the number of NBA players that are coming in to participate in the World Cup, we're working with them on what kind of programs do you create for those players and big scale events and logistics, and content, too. There is a lot of collaboration in a lot of different areas."