There has probably never been a basketball championship with so many superstars. Sure, Dirk Nowitzki and the Spanish Gasol brothers Pau and Marc have also been represented together at a European Championship before. But the density of exceptional players in the tournament that starts on Thursday with a preliminary round in Cologne and the final round in Berlin is very impressive.
Three potential MVP candidates for the coming NBA season are fighting for the European basketball crown with their respective national teams.
Nikola Jokic (Serbien)
In the run-up to the European Championship, the German basketball players also experienced the exceptional skills of the center of the Serbian national team. In the final of the Hamburg Supercup, the 27-year-old dominated the baskets as he pleased and came up trumps. The powerhouse, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, has been named the NBA's most valuable player of the season twice in a row. Now he also wants to put his stamp on his personal European Championship premiere and win the title with Serbia.
Luka Doncic (Slovenia)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece)
Hardly any player in the history of basketball has combined physique and athleticism as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo. The "Greek Freak" was named the NBA's most valuable player (MVP) twice in the two years before Jokic and led the Milwaukee Bucks to the 2021 championship title. With Greece, the son of Nigerian residents is still waiting for the big success. That should now follow at the European Championships, which the 27-year-old powerhouse has been looking forward to for weeks.
Rudy Gobert (France)
The defensive anchor of the French game was the big topic even before the European Championship. His blockbuster trade from the Utah Jazz to the Minnesota Timberwolves has been widely discussed. In the past, players like Tony Parker stood for offensive, so the game of the German opening opponent is now built around Gobert - and thus defensive stability. The 30-year-old center has been named the NBA's best defensive player three times. If you want to beat France, you have to get past Gobert first.
Dennis Schroeder (Germany)
Schröder is still missing a lot for players like Jokic, Doncic or Giannis. And yet the point guard can become one of the faces of this EM. The 28-year-old defensive player committed to the national team early on and has matured into a real leader both on and off the court during the preparations. With his speed he can overcome any defensive. If he plays more for the team than at the 2019 World Cup, Schröder can lead Germany to a successful European Championship.