From a disappointing bronze-medal finish in the 2004 Olympics, Team USA reclaimed its lost glory by winning back-to-back gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Games with Bryant in the fold.
Although that set the standard for USA Basketball, the program began to fall behind other countries.
Turkey men's basketball team will meet Czech Republic, the US and Japan in the Group E in 2019 FIBA World Cup group stage. He was on hand in Shenzhen, China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup draw, which resulted in the USA landing in Group 3 with Czech Republic, Japan and Turkey.
A United States team packed with NBA stars will begin its bid for an unprecedented third Basketball World Cup title in a row with a clash against debutants the Czech Republic.
"We'll face three well-coached teams and a variety of playing styles", Popovich said. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the 2nd Round and will be placed into a new group with the two top teams from a separate group.
Former NBA and Team USA star Kobe Bryant, now a World Cup ambassador, told the draw ceremony: "The USA has some really stiff competition".
The top two teams in each group move on to the second round where the two best squads advance to the quarterfinals.
The U.S. will be the favorites at the World Cup.
Lastly, Group F is made up of Dominican Republic, France, Germany and Jordan.
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The other four will reach Tokyo through qualifying tournaments over the next year.
Group A: Venezuela, Poland, China and Ivory Coast.
"It's a real sense of honour to be playing for your country".
Group C: Spain, Puerto Rico, Iran and Tunisia.
"At the start of the game you hear your national anthem being played, you see everyone in the arena with their flags, representing their country and colour".
Group H plays their preliminary round games in Dongguan, China.
At stake for teams in the World Cup: The Naismith Trophy, which longtime National Basketball Association star Kobe Bryant brought onto the stage Saturday and handed to Yao for safekeeping, as well as a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Eight teams of the 32 will make the Quarter-Finals and will play single elimination games until a champion is crowned.
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