What You Need to Know: First-Ever NBA G League International Challenge

By Alex Busch | February 13, 2018

After 11 years putting on its own All-Star Game, the NBA G League is debuting a new event, the NBA G League International Challenge, during NBA All-Star 2018. Here’s what you need to know heading into the action:

What is the International Challenge?

Thirteen of the NBA G League’s top performers have been selected to form NBA G League USA and will compete against the Mexico National Team in the 2018 NBA G League International Challenge presented by Kumho Tire.  The first international exhibition game to be played during NBA All-Star festivities will be held at the Verizon Up Arena at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4:30 PM ET.

Where can I watch the game?

The game will be streamed live to fans globally on NBA.com, the NBA App and Twitch and in the United States on the ESPN App. The game will also be televised in Spanish language on Univision Deportes Network in the United States and Puerto Rico and Televisa Deportes Network in Mexico.

Where can I buy tickets?

Tickets for the NBA G League International Challenge presented by Kumho Tire can be purchased at NBATickets.com and start at just $10.

Who is selected to play?

Coached by former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy and his USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying team assistant coaches Mo McHone and John Thompson III, NBA G League USA players were selected by the six-member USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Committee. The Committee is made up of appointees by USA Basketball and the NBA G League.

The roster is as follows:


When did NBA G League players begin competing for USA Basketball?

In May 2017, USA Basketball announced the formation of a six-member 2017-20 USA Basketball World Cup Qualification Committee, responsible for the selection of players who will comprise the 2017-20 USA Men’s World Cup Qualification Teams. The committee is comprised of appointees by USA Basketball and the NBA G League, marking the first time NBA G League players would become a part of the USA roster pool.

In September 2017, a 12-man roster that featured 11 NBA G League alums won gold in the FIBA AmeriCup tournament. In November, a 12-man roster comprised entirely of NBA G League alums won both of its games in the first window of FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifying play. In total, the team is 7-0 since the new committee was formed.

Where does the International Challenge fit into the USA Basketball schedule?

Members of NBA G League USA will go on to play for USA Basketball in FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers against Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz, Calif. The USA currently owns a 2-0 record and sits atop of the FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying first-round Group C standings after winning both of its first-window games in November.

In the third and final first-round window of the World Cup Qualifying, the USA will play two away games, at Mexico on June 28, 2018, and at Cuba on July 1, 2018.

After completion of the first round, the top three finishing teams in each of the four, Americas first-round groups advance to the second round. The three advancing teams from Group A and Group C will form Group E, while the top three finishers from Group B and Group D will form Group F.  The three second-round windows of competition will take place Sept. 13-17, 2018; Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2018; and Feb. 21-25, 2019.

Are there any additional NBA G League events at All-Star?

The 2018 NBA G League Slam Dunk Contest presented by Verizon will also be held on Sunday, February 18.  The preliminary round starts at 3:30 PM ET before tip-off of the NBA G League International Challenge. The championship round of the two-round event will take place at halftime.

The competition will also stream live on Twitch.

The contest calls for each competitor to complete two dunks in the preliminary round, with each of the five judges awarding six to 10 points for each dunk.  Dunkers will have 60 seconds to complete each dunk.  The two players with the highest composite scores after the preliminary round move on to the final round, where the time limits and scoring system remain the same.  The player with the highest composite score of the possible two dunks in the final round is crowned the 2018 NBA G League Slam Dunk champion.

Who are the dunkers?

The competition will feature Aaron Best (Raptors 905), Michael Bryson (Iowa Wolves), Ike Iroegbu (Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario), DeQuan Jones (Fort Wayne Mad Ants) and Ike Nwamu (Sioux Falls Skyforce).

Related articles