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Isaiah Thomas, Joe Johnson to represent USA in FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers

One year after Kobe Bryant's death, Michael Holley and Michael Smith reflect on the Lakers icon's legendary career, personality off the court and accomplishments after his retirement.

FIBA continues to act like... well, FIBA. Sure, the world is battling the coronavirus and trying to limit outbreaks, and basketball seasons — largely without fans — are in full swing around the globe, but that’s not going to stop basketball’s international body from putting on regional tournament qualifiers next month.

That sparked a couple of NBA veterans — Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson — to step up and be part of the team representing the USA next month in Puerto Rico for the AmeriCup qualifiers. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.

Because the AmeriCup qualifiers fall during the G-League bubble in Orlando, there is a smaller pool of players than normal for USA Basketball to choose from. Don’t be surprised if because of that more former NBA players step up and join the roster.

That roster will not be under any pressure — Team USA has gone 4-0 in previous rounds of AmeriCup qualifying, guaranteeing a top-three spot in its group (D), which means it has already secured its spot in the AmeriCup itself.

That cup was originally scheduled for 2021 but has been pushed back until Sept. 2022 because of the coronavirus.