A Celtics fan’s guide to the 2023 FIBA World Cup

Celtics

Several former Boston Celtics will participate in this international tournament.

Kelly Olynyk (middle) and Luigi Datome (far right) will play in this year’s FIBA World Cup. Jim Davis/Globe Staff Photo

No current Boston Celtic will be representing their country in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which starts on Friday. But that doesn’t mean Celtics fans can’t still enjoy watching it.

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FIBA’s biggest tournament will feature many former Celtics players, some of whom lived in Boston as recently as 2022. Six countries will have Celtics alumni don their country’s jerseys in this year’s FIBA World Cup, and many of those players will play major roles in their team’s quest for a gold medal.

Perhaps the most notable former Celtic participating in the World Cup is Kelly Olynyk, who will play for Team Canada. Olynyk played for the Celtics from 2014-2017, where he was selected to both the Rising Stars Game and All-Rookie Second Team for that first year. He will join Dwight Powell, who wore green for one season (2014) before he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks alongside Rajon Rondo.

It’s worth noting that current Celtic Oshae Brissett was supposed to play alongside Olynyk and Powell for Team Canada, but he withdrew due to precautionary concerns over a knee injury.

Team Germany will have the most former Celtics on their roster with three players. Dennis Schröder, Germany’s starting point guard, is likely one of the first names that comes to mind. He played for the Celtics for half of the 2021-22 NBA season until he, along with Enes Freedom and Bruno Fernando, were traded to the Houston Rockets for Daniel Theis, who will also be playing for Team Germany. 

Theis had two stints in Boston. It’s where he made his NBA debut in 2017, and he played there until he was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 2021. He was traded back to the Rockets at the 2022 trade deadline before he was sent to the Indiana Pacers as part of the Malcolm Brogdon trade a few months later.

Schröder and Theis will be joined by Moritz Wagner, who was traded to Boston at the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline. The Celtics waived him a month later.

Team France employs another 2021 trade deadline acquisition in Evan Fournier. Fournier provided the Celtics with shooting from March 2021 until that summer, when he was part of a sign-and-trade and sent to the New York Knicks. Fournier will play on Team France with Guerschon Yabusele, whom the Celtics took 16th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Boston was Yabusele’s only NBA stop, playing with the Celtics from 2017 until he was waived in 2019.

Three more countries each have one former Celtic apiece. Reigning champion Spain will suit up Juancho Hernangomez, who played in Boston for the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season before being traded to Utah. Italy’s Luigi Datome played with the Celtics in 2015, where he made his first-ever NBA start and played his last-ever NBA game. And even though he never wore a Celtics jersey in a game, Slovenia’s Zoran Dragic was a Boston Celtic from July 2015 until he was waived a month later.

While all of the current Boston Celtics will spend the rest of their summers preparing for the 2023 NBA season, you may recognize a couple of familiar faces if you tune into this year’s FIBA World Cup.


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