Australia is first Olympic men’s basketball qualifier, extends longest streak
Australia became the first nation to qualify for the 2024 Olympic men’s basketball tournament, joining France, which got in automatically as host nation in the 12-team field.
Australia, which has the longest active streak of 13 Olympic appearances (since 1972), earned Oceania’s spot by advancing to the last 16 at the ongoing FIBA World Cup.
The other Oceania nation at the World Cup, New Zealand, did not advance from the opening group stage of 32. New Zealand could still qualify for the Paris Games via a last-chance tournament next year, likely in June.
The Aussies earned their first Olympic medal in Tokyo -- bronze -- after finishing fourth in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2016, going winless in eight games with a medal at stake.
FIBA WORLD CUP: Schedule, Results
NBA players Patty Mills and Joe Ingles, both 35, returned from the Tokyo Games to play the World Cup, where Australia beat Finland and Japan and lost to Germany in the first group stage.
Josh Giddey, who averaged 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, is making his global championship debut for Australia at the World Cup.
Ben Simmons, a three-time NBA All-Star, is not on the World Cup roster but could be on the Olympic team. He has never played in a global tournament.
Australia and Germany advanced to the second group stage, where they will play Slovenia and Georgia. The top two teams from that group advance to the quarterfinals.
The World Cup will produce six more Olympic qualifiers — the top two finishers each from North America and Europe and the top team from Africa and Asia.