Paris 2024 basketball: Serbia aim to go one step further after reaching World Cup final (2024)

Serbia's men's basketball team has been an ever-present force on the international stage for the past three decades, winning medals at the Olympic Games (silver at Atlanta 1996 & Rio 2016), EuroBasket (gold in 1995, 1997, and 2001; silver in 2009 and 2017; bronze in 1999) and FIBA World Cup (gold in 1998 and 2002, silver in 2014 and 2023).

After failing to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in 2021, the Eagles stormed back to form at the FIBA World Cup 2023, reaching the final for the first time since 2014. Though they would fall to Germany 83-77 in the gold medal game, by reaching that stage Serbia qualified for Olympic Games Paris 2024 as one of the two best-ranked teams from Europe in the competition.

Serbia's experience at the World Cup will no doubt serve them well as they seek a first Olympic medal in 2016, though their chances of reaching the podium—and even winning gold—could hinge on the presence of arguably the best basketball player in the world.

  • Men's Olympic basketball tournament: Paris 2024 draw results
Paris 2024 basketball: Serbia aim to go one step further after reaching World Cup final (1)

Serbia players, coaches and team officials pose with their silver medals after the FIBA Basketball World Cup Final loss to Germany at Mall of Asia Arena on September 10, 2023 in Manila, Philippines. Germany won 83-77.

Picture by 2023 Getty Images

Will Nikola Jokic play at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games?

At the World Cup, Serbia proved that they can win without Nikoka Jokic — but it sure would be helpful to have a three-time NBA MVP take to the court when they face the reigning Olympic champions USA in their first group game at Paris 2024 on 28 July.

Paris 2024 basketball: Serbia aim to go one step further after reaching World Cup final (7)

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets poses with the Michael Jordan MVP trophy.

Picture by 2024 Getty Images

Jokic and the Denver Nuggets were unable to defend their NBA title in the 2024 playoffs, bowing out in the conference semi-finals after a 4-3 series loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Following the loss, Jokic was asked about his plans to play for Serbia at Paris 2024—but the 29-year-old remained non-committal with his response.

“I don’t know, my friend, we will see,” Jokic said on 20 May. “I need to think about it.”

Jokic helped lead Serbia to the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and most recently played for the national team at EuroBasket 2022 and the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

No Jokic, no problem?

Jokic's possible absence at the Games would be a blow for Serbia, but there is more than enough talent within the squad — and on the sideline — to make up for it.

For starters, the Eagles can call upon the services of their other NBA stars in Bogdan Bogdanović and Nikola Jović. Nikola Milutinov was arguably the best center at the World Cup, leading the entire tournament in double-doubles with 4. He also had the ninth-highest per game rebound average (8.4) and only failed to score in double figures in two games. Then there are the veterans in Vladimir Lucic, Nikola Kalinic and Nemanja Nedovic, seasoned professionals who help to round out a balanced and proven roster.

Guiding the Serbian ship is coach Svetislav "Kari" Pešić, a man who has coached at the highest level since 1982 and has the silverware to show for it. Pešić's achievements merit an article in their own right, but among the extensive list is a FIBA World Cup gold medal (2002), two FIBA EuroBasket gold medals (1993, 2001), EuroLeague gold medal (2003), and enshrinement into the FIBA Hall of Fame.

📺 Serbia put on a masterful all-around performance to knock off Canada and punch the first ticket to the Final!#FIBAWC x #WinForSrbija 🇷🇸

— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) September 8, 2023

This is a group that made it to the gold medal game at the World Cup without their best player, so who's to say they can't reach the same stage again in Paris? If and when Jokic does commit to play at the Games, then the conversation shifts entirely. Until we get a definitive answer on 'the Joker's' plans, Serbia remain a dangerous team who have a good — if not strong — chance to medal at the Olympics.

Serbia's group at Paris 2024

Serbia has been drawn into Group C along with 16-time champions USA, Olympic debutants South Sudan, and the winner of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) Puerto Rico. The countries competing in that OQT are Bahrain, Côte d’Ivoire, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.

Serbia Group Phase Games

vs USA (July 28)
vs Winner OQT Puerto Rico (July 31)
vs South Sudan (August 3)

Paris 2024 basketball: Serbia aim to go one step further after reaching World Cup final (2024)


What is the weirdest sport in the Olympics 2024? ›

The 2024 Olympics will see the inclusion of two new events: breaking and kayak cross. While some may believe skateboarding, surfing, and climbing are new additions, they actually debuted at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

What are the medal predictions for Paris 2024? ›

The United States is the country Gracenote's VMT forecast projects to win the most medals overall at Paris 2024 with 123. China is set to duel with the United States for most gold medals, projecting 89 total medals, on a par with Tokyo 2020. As the host nation, France is expected to significantly boost its medal count.

What are the 5 new sports for the 2024 Olympics? ›

Paris 2024 submitted its proposal to the IOC to integrate four additional sports closely associated with young people and reward creativity and athletic performance. These sports are breaking (making its Olympic debut), sport climbing, skateboarding, and surfing.

Has Nikola Jokic played in the Olympics? ›

A six-time NBA All-Star, Jokić has been named to the All-NBA Team on six occasions (including four first-team selections), and won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award for the 2020–21, 2021–22, and 2023–24 seasons. He represents the Serbian national team, with which he won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Which game is removed from Olympics 2024? ›

It was announced in 2016 that baseball and softball would both return to Olympic sport status for the 2020 Tokyo Games (which were held in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic). The two sports were then dropped from the 2024 Games in Paris but reinstated for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

What is the hardest Olympic game? ›

Insider asked six sports medicine professionals to name the hardest summer Olympic sports. They considered the physical, technical, and mental strength needed. Water polo came up on top, followed by gymnastics and swimming.

Will Simone Biles compete in 2024? ›

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles kicked off her campaign for the 2024 Paris Olympics in commanding fashion, taking home the all-around title at the 2024 Core Hydration Classic against one of the most decorated fields the sport has ever seen.

Who is predicted to win the 2024 Summer Olympics? ›

The United States and China are expected to finish 1-2 in the gold and the overall medal counts at the Paris Olympics, which open in 100 days. The United States is projected to win 123 medals overall, including 39 golds. China is projected to win 35 gold and 89 medals overall.

How do you qualify for breaking Paris 2024? ›

The winning b-girls (5) and winning b-boys (5) at each of the Continental Games – or in the event there is no Continental Games, the winners of the corresponding Continental Championships – held throughout 2023 will also qualify directly for Paris 2024.

What is happening in Paris in 2024? ›

For 2024, due t the Paris Olympic Games, the Tour will end in Nice in the south of France. Paris is hosting the massive sporting event. Lovers of Japanese culture will unite to celebrate, manga, martial arts, animation & J-music. Concerts, dance, recitals and fireworks – you won't want to miss this spectacular event.

How many sports are in Paris in 2024? ›

The programme of the 2024 Summer Olympics will feature 329 events in 32 sports, including the 28 "core" Olympic sports contested in 2016 and 2020, and four optional sports that were proposed by the Paris Organising Committee: breaking will make its Olympic debut as an optional sport, while skateboarding, sport climbing ...

Why is softball not in the 2024 Olympics? ›

On a granular level, the reason behind softball's ebb and flow on the Olympic calendar boils down to its popularity because, per the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) rules, host cities are now allowed to add sports to their program, according to USA Today.

How many NBA players are from Serbia? ›

Nikola Jokić, Bogdan Bogdanović, Boban Marjanović and Vasilije Micić are current NBA players, as well as Nikola Jović, Aleksej Pokuševski and Tristan Vukčević (not pictured).

Will Jokic play for Serbia in the 2024 Olympics? ›

Following the loss, Jokic was asked about his plans to play for Serbia at Paris 2024—but the 29-year-old remained non-committal with his response.

Is Nikola Jokic Russian? ›

Jokic was born in 1995 in Sombor, Serbia. Jokic has two older brothers, one of whom played basketball at the University of Detroit. Jokic played youth basketball at Vojvodina Srbijagas.

What is the most unpopular Olympic sport? ›

One of the least popular sports at the Summer Olympics is "Race Walking." Race walking involves a very specific set of rules, including maintaining contact with the ground at all times and a straight leg during the stride phase.

What is the weirdest competitive sport? ›

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Aug 3, 2023

What weird sport used to be in the Olympics? ›


Ballooning, which involved pilots using gas balloons to compete in events like distance, altitude, duration and longest distance traveled, was included as part of the Summer Olympic Games in 1900. Held in Paris, this marked the only year that included ballooning as an official event.

What is the new Olympic sport breaking in 2024? ›

Paris 2024 will give an Olympic Games debut to the sport of breaking – a style of street dance that originated in 1970s New York City.

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