How Does the FIBA World Cup Affect Olympic Qualifying?

USA v Greece - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023
USA v Greece - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

The 2023 FIBA World Cup is taking place this summer, running from August 25 to September 10. This is a tournament that often goes under the radar for American basketball fans because only a few players from Team USA's FIBA roster will go on to play on the Olympic Team when the time comes. The biggest superstars in the game generally do not participate in FIBA and instead the US uses it as a chance to introduce up-and-coming players to international play as preparation for potential Olympic participation in the future.

But the FIBA World Cup means a lot more to the rest of the world. The fact that Team USA isn't trotting out its best possible roster means it's far more wide-open than typical international basketball competition. How well a team does in FIBA is a great measuring stick for how they'll fare at the next Olympic Games, too. Above all most basketball player value the chance to represent their country, and for many the FIBA World Cup is the only chance to do so if their country isn't good enough to qualify for the Olympics.

As of 2020, though, doing well in the FIBA World Cup helps the end-goal of qualifying for the Olympics. Here's how.

FIBA World Cup Olympics Qualifying

The 2023 FIBA World Cup will produce seven teams that will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France. It's not as simple as the top seven teams, though. Each of the seven qualifying teams are still subject to the Universality rule for the Olympics, meaning there can only be a certain amount of teams from each region: two teams from the Americas, two teams from Europe, one team from Africa, one team from Asia, and one team from Oceania.

Essentially, the teams that finish the highest from each region earn an automatic qualifying bid to the 2024 Olympics. An African country could only make it to the quarterfinals and still qualify if they made it further than any other team in their region. Similarly, if Team USA bowed out in the semifinals, they would not earn an automatic bid if the two teams in the finals are from the Americas. Who will qualify for the Olympics during FIBA is entirely dependent on where they finish relative to other countries from their region.

Thus, seven Olympic spots will be determined over the next few weeks. France, despite not making it past the first round of the FIBA World Cup this year, gets an automatic bid as a host country. There will be 12 teams in the field next summer; the final four spots will be determined by the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, scheduled to take place sometime in the lead-up to the Paris Games.

That's the gist of it. A fun look ahead to the Olympics next summer.