Stephen A. explains why it’s important that Team USA wins FIBA gold 🥇 | First Take YouTube Exclusive

Hey there! Welcome to First Take exclusively for YouTube. Today, Stephen A. Smith and Marcus Spears are diving into a very important topic: why it’s crucial for Team USA to win gold at the 2023 FIBA World Cup. They discuss how Team USA has been succeeding in group play, even without big-name stars like KD and LeBron. Stephen A. disagrees with Charles Barkley’s comment about the significance of winning the World Cup, emphasizing the importance of showcasing America’s basketball dominance. The conversation then shifts to NBA teams calling themselves “World champions” and Noah Lyles’ recent comments about the NBA not being a true world championship. Stephen A. apologizes for calling Lyles’ statement ignorant but stands his ground on the NBA’s global impact. Boris Kojo and Usain Bolt are mentioned for their support of Lyles’ perspective. Ultimately, the discussion concludes with the recognition that the NBA is international, but technically not a world championship. Stay tuned for more of this insightful conversation on First Take’s YouTube channel!

Importance of Team USA Winning FIBA Gold

Team USA’s dominance in basketball

Team USA has long been known as a powerhouse in international basketball. The United States has a rich basketball history, and it is widely recognized as the birthplace and breeding ground for the sport. Over the years, Team USA has showcased its dominance on the global stage, consistently producing some of the most talented players in the world.

The success of Team USA can be attributed to various factors, including the widespread popularity of basketball in the United States, the competitive nature of the sport at both the college and professional levels, and the commitment and dedication of the players. They have consistently proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with, and their performances in international competitions have cemented their status as basketball giants.

Showcasing America’s basketball prowess

Winning the FIBA World Cup is not just about securing a gold medal – it is an opportunity for Team USA to showcase America’s basketball prowess to the world. The team represents the nation and carries the weight of its basketball legacy on their shoulders. A victory on the global stage reaffirms America’s position as a dominant force in the sport and contributes to the globalization of basketball.

By winning the FIBA World Cup, Team USA not only solidifies its own reputation but also enhances the global perception of American basketball. It serves as a reminder to other countries and players that the United States is still the standard bearer in the sport and that they have not relinquished their hold on the proverbial basketball baton.

Disagreeing with Charles Barkley’s comments

In a recent podcast, Charles Barkley made a comment suggesting that winning the World Cup might be more beneficial for smaller countries, as it could enhance the popularity of basketball in those regions. While Barkley’s perspective has merit, Stephen A. Smith disagreed, emphasizing the importance of Team USA winning gold.

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Smith believes that a victory by Team USA is significant not only for the players but also for the entire nation. It serves as a reminder to American athletes to elevate their level of play and prove their greatness on the global stage. Smith argues that the success of international players in the NBA should serve as motivation for American-born players to step up their game and reclaim their place at the top of the basketball hierarchy.

The significance of winning the FIBA World Cup

Winning the FIBA World Cup is a significant accomplishment for any country, and it holds a special place in the hearts of basketball fans around the world. The tournament brings together national teams from different continents, showcasing the best talent from each country. It is a chance for players to represent their nation and compete against the best of the best.

For Team USA, winning the FIBA World Cup carries even more weight. It signifies their commitment to excellence, their dedication to upholding America’s basketball legacy, and their relentless pursuit of victory. It is an opportunity for American players to demonstrate their skills, unite as a team, and bring home the gold for their country.

Success of Team USA in Group Play

Strong performance despite missing star players

Team USA’s success in group play at the 2023 FIBA World Cup has been remarkable, considering the absence of star players such as Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Many had doubts about the team’s ability to perform at a high level without these key contributors, but the players on the roster have stepped up and delivered impressive performances.

The team’s victory over New Zealand and Greece demonstrated their resilience and depth. It was a testament to the talent and determination of the players who were chosen to represent Team USA. Despite missing some of their most recognizable stars, they managed to maintain a competitive edge and secure victories against tough opponents.

Maintaining competitiveness in the absence of KD and LeBron

The absence of Kevin Durant and LeBron James could have been a significant setback for Team USA. These players are widely regarded as two of the best in the world and have been instrumental in the team’s success in the past. However, the current roster has proven that they can still compete at a high level and achieve success without them.

The players on Team USA have embraced their roles and executed the game plan set forth by the coaching staff. They have played with intensity and passion, showcasing their individual skills while also playing as a cohesive unit. This level of competitiveness, even without the presence of superstars, speaks volumes about the depth of talent in American basketball.

Stephen A. explains why its important that Team USA wins FIBA gold 🥇 | First Take YouTube Exclusive

Discussion on NBA Teams Calling Themselves ‘World Champions’

Marcus Spears raises the topic

During the discussion on the importance of Team USA winning gold, Marcus Spears brought up the topic of NBA teams calling themselves ‘World Champions’. This claim has been a subject of debate among basketball fans, with some questioning the legitimacy of such a title.

The claim of being ‘World Champions’ is based on the dominance of NBA teams and the perception that they have the best players in the world. However, critics argue that it is misleading to label themselves as champions of the world when the competition is limited to teams from one country.

Exploring the legitimacy of the claim

The claim of being ‘World Champions’ by NBA teams raises valid questions about the scope of the competition and the criteria used to determine a champion. While it is undeniable that the NBA features a high level of basketball talent and attracts players from all around the world, it is important to recognize that it is primarily an American competition.

Unlike international tournaments such as the FIBA World Cup or the Olympic Games, where teams from various countries compete against each other, the NBA is solely comprised of teams from the United States and a few Canadian teams. This limits the scope of competition and raises questions about whether the title of ‘World Champions’ is appropriate.

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Stephen A.’s perspective on the matter

Stephen A. Smith weighed in on the discussion, highlighting the global impact of the NBA and the representation of players from different countries in the league. While acknowledging the technicality of NBA teams calling themselves ‘World Champions’, he emphasized that the NBA has done a tremendous job of globalizing its brand.

Smith argued that the presence of players from almost a third of the countries in the world, spanning six different continents, exemplifies the international nature of the NBA. He believes that this diversity and the league’s efforts to expand its reach beyond American borders contribute to the justification of the ‘World Champions’ claim.

NBA’s global impact

The NBA has undeniably had a significant global impact on the sport of basketball. The league’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, with fans from all corners of the world tuning in to watch games and support their favorite players and teams. The international appeal of the NBA has grown exponentially, making it one of the most watched and admired sports leagues on the planet.

The presence of international players in the NBA has undoubtedly played a role in its globalization. Players like Dirk Nowitzki, Manu Ginobili, and Yao Ming have not only achieved tremendous success in the NBA but have also become ambassadors for the sport in their home countries. This has helped fuel the worldwide popularity of basketball and solidified the NBA’s status as a global phenomenon.

Noah Lyles’ Comments on NBA

Lyles’ statement about the NBA not being a world championship

Noah Lyles, a prominent track and field athlete, made a statement suggesting that the NBA should not be considered a world championship. Lyles expressed his opinion that true world championships involve international competition where individual athletes or teams represent their respective countries.

Lyles’ comment sparked a debate about the nature of the NBA as a league and whether it can legitimately claim to be a world championship. The discussion prompted diverse perspectives, with some supporting Lyles’ viewpoint and others arguing in favor of the NBA’s global impact.

Stephen A.’s initial response

Upon hearing Noah Lyles’ statement, Stephen A. Smith initially disagreed with his position, considering it ignorant. Smith believed that Lyles failed to recognize the NBA’s efforts in globalizing the sport and the representation of players from all over the world in the league.

Smith’s initial response reflected his belief that the NBA’s international nature and the multitude of international players in the league lend credibility to its claim of being a world championship. However, he later reflected on his choice of words and chose to apologize to Lyles, showing respect for his accomplishments and recognizing that his statement had some merit.

Stephen A.’s subsequent apology

After taking the time to reflect on his initial response, Stephen A. Smith realized that he had been too harsh in his criticism of Noah Lyles’ statement. Although he still disagreed with Lyles, Smith acknowledged that his choice of words was inappropriate and apologized for any offense caused.

Smith’s subsequent apology demonstrated his willingness to acknowledge his mistake and engage in a respectful dialogue. It also underscored the importance of maintaining a constructive and respectful discourse when discussing differing opinions.

Standing by his position on the NBA’s global impact

Despite apologizing for the use of the word ‘ignorant’, Stephen A. Smith stood by his position regarding the NBA’s global impact. He emphasized that nearly a third of NBA players come from different countries, highlighting the league’s diversity and its ability to attract talent from all around the world.

Smith recognized that while the NBA may not fit the technical definition of a world championship, it has successfully expanded its brand and influenced the global perception of basketball. He firmly believed that the NBA’s international nature and its efforts to promote the sport worldwide were important factors in considering it a world championship.

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Stephen A. explains why its important that Team USA wins FIBA gold 🥇 | First Take YouTube Exclusive

Support for Lyles from Boris Kojo and Usain Bolt

Notable figures backing Lyles’ viewpoint

Noah Lyles received support from notable figures such as Boris Kojo, an acclaimed actor, and Usain Bolt, the legendary sprinter. Both Kojo and Bolt expressed agreement with Lyles’ perspective that the NBA should not be considered a world championship.

Their support added weight to Lyles’ argument and ignited further discussion about the technicality of the NBA’s claim to being a world championship.

Examining their perspectives on the matter

Boris Kojo and Usain Bolt, through their endorsement of Noah Lyles’ statement, highlighted the importance of true international competition when considering a world championship. They argued that the NBA’s exclusive focus on American and Canadian teams did not meet the criteria for a global title.

Kojo and Bolt applauded Lyles’ insight and perspective as an Olympic athlete, emphasizing the significance of representing one’s country on the world stage. Their viewpoints contributed to the ongoing conversation about the NBA’s global impact and whether it was appropriate to label it a world championship.

Acknowledging the NBA’s International Nature

Recognizing the league’s diverse player pool

One cannot deny the diverse player pool in the NBA. The league has become a melting pot of talent, attracting players from various countries and continents. It has provided opportunities for players from all over the world to showcase their skills and compete against the best.

The presence of international players in the NBA enriches the league and contributes to its global appeal. It demonstrates the extent to which basketball has transcended borders and fostered a sense of unity through the sport.

Highlighting the global influence of the NBA

The NBA’s impact extends far beyond the borders of the United States. Its games are broadcasted worldwide, reaching millions of fans in different countries. Fans from all corners of the globe support their favorite NBA teams and players, creating a sense of camaraderie that unites people from diverse backgrounds.

The NBA’s global influence is also evident in the endorsement deals and business ventures involving players and teams. Players such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have become international icons, thanks to their success on the court and their off-court endeavors. The league’s ability to captivate audiences worldwide speaks volumes about its status as a global phenomenon.

The technicality of it not being a true world championship

While the NBA undeniably has an international presence and attracts players from around the world, it is important to acknowledge that it does not fit the technical definition of a world championship. True world championships involve teams or individuals competing against representatives from various countries, aiming to claim the title of the best in the world.

The NBA’s focus on American and Canadian teams does limit its scope of competition. However, it is essential to appreciate the NBA for what it is – a highly competitive league that showcases the best basketball talent in the world.

Stephen A. explains why its important that Team USA wins FIBA gold 🥇 | First Take YouTube Exclusive


In conclusion, the importance of Team USA winning FIBA gold cannot be understated. It not only reaffirms America’s basketball dominance but also contributes to the globalization of the sport. Team USA’s success in group play, despite missing star players, demonstrates the depth of talent in American basketball and the team’s ability to maintain competitiveness.

The discussion on NBA teams calling themselves ‘World Champions’ raises valid points about the technicality of the claim. While the NBA has undoubtedly made significant strides in globalizing the sport, it is important to recognize the difference between an American league with international talent and a true world championship.

Noah Lyles’ comments sparked a conversation about the NBA’s designation as a world championship, with notable figures supporting his viewpoint. While differing opinions exist, it is essential to acknowledge the NBA’s international nature and its influence on the sport of basketball worldwide.

In reflection, the conversations surrounding these topics highlight the ongoing dialogue about basketball’s global appeal, the significance of representing one’s country, and the NBA’s role in shaping the sport of basketball on an international scale. Ultimately, Team USA’s success and the NBA’s global impact go hand in hand, contributing to the continued growth and popularity of basketball around the world.

In the YouTube exclusive video “Stephen A. explains why it’s important that Team USA wins FIBA gold 🥇 | First Take YouTube Exclusive,” Stephen A. Smith and Marcus Spears emphasize the significance of Team USA achieving victory and securing the gold medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

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