NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki arrived in Manila ahead of the FIBA World Cup 2023 draw on April 29 at the Araneta Coliseum.
The event will feature the former Dallas Mavericks star who led Germany to a bronze medal in the 2002 Worlds, joining FIBA World Cup Global Ambassador Luis Scola of Argentina.
The draw will sort the 32 qualified teams into eight groups of four teams each for a tournament that, for the first time, will be co-hosted by three nations: The Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia. Germany joined Greece, Italy, and Brazil in Seed 3. If the organizers place them in Groups A and C, they would play in Manila. However, if the organizers assign them to Groups E and G, they would compete in Japan and Indonesia Arena, respectively.
Nowitzki, who clinched the 2011 NBA championship with the Mavericks and earned the league’s 2007 MVP title, was also recognized as the FIBA EuroBasket’s 2005 MVP. He guided Germany to a silver medal in the regional tournament. He retired in 2015.
Nowitzki will join Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and Dwyane Wade in late this year’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Scola is the second-highest scorer in FIBA history with five appearances in the competition. He also shares the record for the joint-highest number of appearances in the tournament, with 41 games played.
In 2015, during the FIBA Americas Championship tournament, Scola achieved another feat by becoming the all-time leading scorer in FIBA AmeriCup history. Additionally, he won his fourth tournament MVP award.
Scola won multiple medals as a member of Argentina’s national men’s basketball team. From 2001 to 2019, he represented Argentina’s national squad, where he secured two silver medals at the FIBA World Championships – one in 2002 and the other in his final tournament at 39 in 2019.
In the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship tournament, Scola achieved a historic milestone by becoming the top scorer in FIBA AmeriCup history. He also won his fourth tournament MVP award.
Wanda will present the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 draw, and the event also includes performances from global hip-hop artist Saweetie and Filipino favorites Sarah Geronimo and Billy Crawford.
Each host nation’s ambassadors, LA Tenorio and Catriona Gray from the Philippines, Takehiko Orimo from Japan, and Raffi Ahmad from Indonesia, will grace the draw ceremony.
Saweetie is a California-based artist, actress, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. She grew up in the Bay Area but traced her roots to the Philippines through her mother.
Geronimo is a singer, performer, and actress with many career achievements, including a FAMAS Golden Artist Award and a World Music Award. She is also considered one of Asia’s most influential celebrities and influencers.
Known for his sophisticated R&B and pop music style, Billy Crawford is a Filipino-American singer, songwriter, actor, and TV host. He has produced multiple albums and hosted several local and international television programs.
The ceremony will be aired live on the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 website and the FIBA YouTube channel.
Also, a Draw Festival in Uptown BGC is open to the public on Saturday, featuring performances from popular local acts headlined by Ben & Ben.