| Event type

Basketball, Men

Date25 July – 7 August 2021
LocationSaitama Super Arena, Chūō-ku, Saitama, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Participants143 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.

All the games took place at Saitama Super Arena. There was a minor change in the format, as the last several Olympics had two groups of 6 teams each, with eight teams advancing to a knockout stage. In Tokyo the groups were changed into three groups of 4 teams each, again with eight teams entering the single elimination phase.

The United States had won gold in 2008, 2012, and 2016 but seemed more vulnerable in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic had forced the NBA season to start later and finish only the week before the Olympics. With that late finish many of the best American players elected not to compete at the Olympics. In addition, in pre-Olympic games, both Nigeria and Australia defeated the USA men, and the United States’ Olympic dominance seemed in danger.

One other change was that long-time Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who had coached the United States’ team at the last three Olympics, had stepped down, with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich now in charge. It was likely a minor change as Popovich was one of the greatest coaches in NBA annals.

Once in Tokyo, France defeated the United States in the first group match, 83-76, further inflaming their critics. France went on to win Group A, while the USA finished second but still advanced to the knockout rounds. The other groups were won by Australia and Slovenia, which was led by 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Dončić, who scored 48 points again Argentina in their group match-up.

Sparked by Kevin Durant, who would win his third gold medal, the USA won their quarter-final over Spain, 95-81 and then beat Australia quite comfortably in the semi-finals, seemingly getting stronger with each game. In the other half of the bracket, France defeated Italy and then Slovenia to earn a re-match with the Americans. The final was relatively close, but the United States was in charge the entire second half and finally won gold by 87-82. Australia defeated Slovenia, 107-93, to take the bronze medal, giving the Aussies their first Olympic medal in men’s basketball after four fourth-place finishes (1988, 1996, 2000, 2016).

1United StatesUSAGold
9Czech RepublicCZE
12Islamic Republic of IranIRI

Preliminary Round

Date25 July – 1 August 2021

Group A

Date25 – 31 July 2021
FormatRound-robin pools.
2United StatesUSA214315-233
3Czech RepublicCZE122245-294
4Islamic Republic of IranIRI030206-283
Match #125 Jul 10:00Czech RepublicCZE84 – 78Islamic Republic of IranIRI
Match #225 Jul 21:00FranceFRA83 – 76United StatesUSA
Match #328 Jul 13:40United StatesUSA120 – 66Islamic Republic of IranIRI
Match #428 Jul 21:00FranceFRA97 – 77Czech RepublicCZE
Match #531 Jul 10:00FranceFRA79 – 62Islamic Republic of IranIRI
Match #631 Jul 21:00United StatesUSA119 – 84Czech RepublicCZE

Group B

Date25 – 31 July 2021
FormatRound-robin pools.
Match #125 Jul 13:40ItalyITA92 – 82GermanyGER
Match #225 Jul 17:20AustraliaAUS84 – 67NigeriaNGR
Match #328 Jul 10:00GermanyGER99 – 92NigeriaNGR
Match #428 Jul 17:20AustraliaAUS86 – 83ItalyITA
Match #531 Jul 13:40ItalyITA80 – 71NigeriaNGR
Match #631 Jul 17:20AustraliaAUS89 – 76GermanyGER

Group C

Date26 July – 1 August 2021
FormatRound-robin pools.
Match #126 Jul 13:40SloveniaSLO118 – 100ArgentinaARG
Match #226 Jul 21:00SpainESP88 – 77JapanJPN
Match #329 Jul 13:40SloveniaSLO116 – 81JapanJPN
Match #429 Jul 21:00SpainESP81 – 71ArgentinaARG
Match #501 Aug 13:40ArgentinaARG97 – 77JapanJPN
Match #601 Aug 17:40SloveniaSLO95 – 87SpainESP


Date3 August 2021 — 10:00
FormatWinner of each match advanced to the semi-finals.
Match #103 Aug 10:00SloveniaSLO94 – 70GermanyGER
Match #203 Aug 13:40United StatesUSA95 – 81SpainESP
Match #303 Aug 17:20FranceFRA84 – 75ItalyITA
Match #403 Aug 21:00AustraliaAUS97 – 59ArgentinaARG


Date5 August 2021 — 13:15
FormatWinner of each match advanced to the final round.
Match #105 Aug 13:15United StatesUSA97 – 78AustraliaAUS
Match #205 Aug 20:00FranceFRA90 – 89SloveniaSLO

Final Round

Date7 August 2021 — 11:30
FormatMedal round.
Match 1/207 Aug 11:30United StatesUSA87 – 82FranceFRA
Match 3/407 Aug 20:00AustraliaAUS107 – 93SloveniaSLO