Grant Hill, the 1996 Olympic champion and current National Team Managing Director for Team USA, recently shared his insights on the team’s preparations and the expectations they face heading into the FIBA World Cup.
In a conversation with Marc Stein on The Saturday Stein podcast, Hill emphasized the weight of the expectations placed on Team USA and the challenges they encounter in international play.
“There is the expectation to win. It’s really, I think people care more about us losing than us winning. And what I mean by that is we’re supposed to win,” Hill explained, via HoopsHype.
He further emphasized that the landscape of international basketball has changed significantly, and the competition has become much tougher than in previous years.
“There’s maybe in a way a lack of appreciation for the international game here in the US. And what I mean by that is that it’s hard, like it’s not easy,” he said. “The rest of the world has improved, and the talent level has increased. And it’s a game that they are more familiar with the game, is officiated differently, and the rules are different. I’m not making excuses, but really just trying to illustrate that this is not easy.”
Hill referenced legendary teams like the Redeem Team in 2008 and the star-studded 2012 roster, showcasing that even with an abundance of talent, medal games are often closely contested battles. The rest of the world has improved their game, and Team USA will face formidable challenges from more familiar opponents with different playing styles and rules.
Despite the obstacles, Hill expressed gratitude for the commitment shown by the 12 players who will represent the United States in the upcoming FIBA World Cup. With redemption on their minds after a disappointing 7th-place finish in 2019, Team USA will be determined to reclaim their position as a dominant force in international basketball.
Led by the roster featuring Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Mikal Bridges, Team USA will commence their FIBA World Cup journey in Group C, where they will face Greece, Jordan, and New Zealand.