not leading Spain, is quick to point out that a glance at the NBA salaries of the U.S. players dwarfs the combined salaries of every other World Cup roster. When the Americans played Spain in an exhibition earlier this month, the U.S. sent out a starting five that will make roughly $105 million this season.
So yes, in terms of earning power, no other team in the world comes close to the roster that the Americans are bringing to China this week.
But as evidenced by how Australia battled the U.S. twice in a pair of exhibitions in Melbourne, and beat the Americans there on Saturday, at least some of the world’s best teams aren’t exactly fearful of the two-time defending World Cup champions.
“Let’s let them play their basketball and we will play ours,” Serbia coach Sasha Djordjevic now-famously said earlier this month. “And if we meet, may God help them.”
Clearly, the tournament means quite a bit to Serbia. It means plenty to other nations as well.
Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee star who won NBA MVP this past season, even said earlier this month that he would give back the award if it could be exchanged for a World Cup gold medal for Greece.
“I believe him,” U.S. center and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks teammate Brook Lopez said. “That’s how much he wants this.”/ap