Next month, the basketball world championships will be played in Japan. The U.S. men's team is hoping for a comeback this year, after finished a disappointing third in the 2004 Olympics.
In 2002, the United States came in sixth at the world championships.
This year's field comprises 24 teams, up from 16. Some of the better teams include defending world champion Serbia, defending Olympic champions Argentina, China -- which, with Yao Ming, hopes to prepare for a good showing when it hosts the Olympics in 2008. And Greece is the defending European champion.
Other hopefuls at the tournament include Team Lebanon, which reportedly had to flee to Jordan to resume training and elude the fighting that is raging in the team's home country.
Robert Siegel talks to Wall Street Journal sportswriter Stefan Fatsis.