Zion Williamson among players added to U.S. Olympic men’s basketball finalists

Zion Williamson
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Zion Williamson is among 15 players added to USA Basketball’s list of finalists for the Olympic men’s basketball team.

In February 2020, USA Basketball announced its largest player pool for 12 roster spots — 44 in total, including every NBA superstar — since it began naming finalists in 2008. Now, after the Olympics were postponed and the NBA season pushed closer to the Opening Ceremony — the list ballooned to 57.

Two players from the original finalist list have dropped out — injured Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.

Williamson, 20 and the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick by the New Orleans Pelicans, is the youngest in the player pool.

He could become the fourth-youngest U.S. Olympic basketball player since NBA players replaced collegians in 1992. Anthony Davis (2012), LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony (both 2004) were younger.

Other new additions included five-time NBA All-Star John Wall and Trae Young, the lone 2020 NBA All-Star who wasn’t among the initial 44 finalists (and appeared to react to the omission on Twitter).

Players can still be added or removed from the player pool leading up to the roster being named (likely in late June or early July).

None of the biggest NBA stars have publicly committed to accepting or declining a U.S. Olympic roster spot if offered (though Kawhi Leonard made his stance pretty clear). It’s a tougher question this year given the NBA season will end later than usual. A potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals would be July 22, the day before the Opening Ceremony.

Complicating matters: The deadline for nations to submit Olympic teams is July 5 — during the NBA playoffs — though there is a late athlete replacement policy that extends closer to the start of competition. This usually comes into play for injuries.

Plus, USA Basketball plans to hold a player training camp in early July, also during the NBA playoffs. It hasn’t said whether camp participation will be mandatory for Olympic participation.

USA Basketball petitioned for the rules to be changed on when Olympic basketball rosters must be finalized. Whether a ruling has been made by international officials has not been announced.

The U.S. finished seventh at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, its worst-ever senior national team tournament result.

From 1992-2004, a USA Basketball committee chose Olympic teams without naming large pools of finalists. There were 33 finalists in 2008, 22 in 2012 and 30 in 2016.

The full list of finalists:

Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers) — NEW
Harrison Barnes
 (Sacramento Kings)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers)
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
Mike Conley Jr. (Utah Jazz)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs)
Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets) — NEW
Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons) — NEW
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Blake Griffin (Brooklyn Nets) — NEW
James Harden (Brooklyn Nets)
Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Lakers)
Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets)
Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Gordon Hayward (Charlotte Hornets)
Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks) — NEW
Dwight Howard (Philadelphia 76ers)
Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)
Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
DeAndre Jordan (Brooklyn Nets) — NEW
Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)
Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls) — NEW
Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)
Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
JaVale McGee (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Victor Oladipo (Houston Rockets)
Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
Mason Plumlee (Detroit Pistons)
Julius Randle (New York Knicks) — NEW
Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat) — NEW
Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks) — NEW
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors) — NEW
Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
John Wall (Houston Rockets) — NEW
Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards)
Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs)
Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans) — NEW
Christian Wood (Houston Rockets) — NEW
Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks) — NEW

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Eliud Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in winning the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:09 to lower the previous record time of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.

Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, earned his 15th win in 17 career marathons to bolster his claim as the greatest runner in history over 26.2 miles.

His pacing was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after going out in an unprecedented 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over Kenyan Mark Korir.

“I was planning to go through it [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were running actually very fast. I thought, let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance.

“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. … There’s still more in my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”

MORE: Berlin Marathon Results

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in history for somebody who ran one prior marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigid Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) have gone faster.

American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered as the top seed, was sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who went nearly a decade between competitive races after college, owns the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th-best time in U.S. history.

“Today wasn’t my best day ever, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weekly, adding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.

The last eight instances the men’s marathon world record has been broken, it has come on the pancake-flat roads of Berlin. It began in 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.

The world record was 2:02:57 — set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 — until Kipchoge broke it for the first time four years ago. The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to cover 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.

Kipchoge’s focus going forward is trying to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He’s checked off four of them, only missing Boston (run in April) and New York City (run every November).

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France 74, Mali 59 Group B
4 a.m. Australia 69, Serbia 54 Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada 70, Japan 56 Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final