We all have the right to perceive ourselves as we like best. In the same way, we are all exposed to, in public or in private, as the case may be, someone questioning that self-perception.
In a year full of world championships -the rugby championship has just started and the artistic gymnastics championship will soon begin-, a couple of weeks ago, immediately after winning his third gold medal in Budapest, Noah Lyles, the main figure of the top World Athletics competition, kicked the anthill criticizing those who, winners of the NBA ring, proclaim themselves world champions.
Many of you already know. Firmness in Lyles’ claim, outrage and even rudeness and grievances against him on the part of figures in that league and, as usual, a lot of noise on social media, almost always focusing on the superficial, almost never bringing the deep to the surface.
As if to intensify the controversy, everything was born while, precisely, the real world basketball championship began. This tournament, unlike the Olympic tournaments in which the United States has clearly been the most successful, has the North Americans hand in hand with Yugoslavia with five titles won. More than that, the tournament won a few hours ago by surprising Germany represented the second consecutive frustration for the cradle of the biggest league on the planet.
The truth is that, beyond the surprising fourth place for the United States, the greater surprise was Germany’s dream coming true. In 1993 they were able to win the EuroBasket title, but worldwide they only achieved third place in the 2002 World Cup in Indianapolis, 19 years ago. Since then, the best result in a world cup was eighth in the 2006 World Cup. Until now. With an impressive record of eight undefeated games, they made history in Manila.
In the group stage, they beat Japan in their debut by 81-63, Australia -bronze medal in Tokyo 2020- by 85-82 and Finland by 101-75. Already in the elimination phase, they beat Latvia 81-79 in a tight match and hit the semifinals by eliminating the United States -Olympic champions in Tokyo- by 113-111.
It was also a dream tournament for Dennis Schröder. The German point guard, a Toronto Raptors player since June of this year, has been playing for 10 years in the NBA. During that time he was part of several teams such as Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder, LA Lakers, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets. The son of a German father and a Gambian mother scored 28 points in the final, reaching an average of almost 20 points throughout the World Cup and with the recognition of the MVP of the tournament and part of the ideal quintet.
The Philippines/Japan/Indonesia 2023 World Cup also distributed places for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Germany got its place as world champion and best European team. Serbia ranked as the second best European team. Canada and the United States came in as the first and second best American teams respectively.
On the other hand, Australia, tenth in the World Cup, won its place as the best ocean team. The same thing happened with South Sudan, 17th in the tournament, ranking as the best African team and Japan, 19th, as the best Asian team. The rest -the best 19 teams outside of those already mentioned- will be looking to qualify for Paris in the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament, with a date and location to be confirmed. They will be joined by the five countries that entered the Olympic Qualifying through the Pre-Qualifiers.