After a year’s delay following the COVID-19 global pandemic, opening ceremonies for the 2020 Summer Olympics are slated for July 23, 2021. The men’s basketball portion of the competition will begin Sunday, July 25, running through Saturday, August 7. Obviously, many Philadelphia 76ers fans will be rooting for Team USA during the Games, but if you want to cheer on a current member of the Sixers, Team Australia will be your national squad of choice. While Ben Simmons already withdrew from consideration to “concentrate his summer on individual development,” teammate Matisse Thybulle will be making his Olympic debut with the Boomers. The full Team Australia roster was recently announced:
Here’s the Australian Boomers team for the Tokyo Olympics.— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) July 3, 2021
Replacement players: Josh Giddey, Xavier Cooks, Brock Motum.
As a reminder, Matisse was born in the United States, but moved to Sydney when he was two years old, living there for about seven years and gaining Australian citizenship. The Boomers will be in Group B of the 12-team Olympic field, alongside Nigeria, and two of the teams advancing from the currently ongoing qualifying tournaments.
Thybulle is coming off a terrific NBA sophomore campaign in which he earned an NBA All-Defensive Second team slot, despite averaging just 20.0 minutes per game. Getting significant playing time for a Team Australia squad that should be very competitive in Tokyo can only help further Matisse’s development.
I should also note that Matisse’s good friend Furkan Korkmaz could be joining him in Japan, as Turkey is in the semifinal of their qualifying bracket tonight. Turkey needs to beat Greece, and then the winner of today’s Canada-Czech Republic contest, to grab one of the four remaining spots in the Olympics. If they make it, Turkey would join the United States, France, and Iran in Group A.
Congratulations to Matisse on making his Olympic debut, and I’m sure we all look forward to him taking his teleportation powers to the international stage. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!