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Tokyo Olympics: How to watch men’s basketball

Kevin Durant Team USA basketball
(Image credit: NBA.com)

It was 29 years ago that the Dream Team went to the Barcelona Olympics and changed the expectation of Olympics men's basketball forever. At this year’s Tokyo Olympics, it’s not just the U.S. sporting a roster featuring NBA players, which will hopefully make for an exciting men’s basketball tournament. 

Of course, team USA’s roster is entirely filled with NBA players, among which are Kevin Durant, Space Jam: A New Legacy star Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Draymond Green and more. 

Current and former NBA stars playing for other countries though include Luka Dončić (Slovenia), Rudy Gobert (France), Luis Scola (Argentina), Marc and Pau Gasol (Spain), Patty Mills (Australia), Tomáš Satoranský (Czech Republic), Mortiz Wagner (Germany), Danilo Gallinari (Italy), Jahlil Okafor (Nigeria) and Rui Hachimura (Japan).

An interesting wrinkle to this year is that the NBA Finals is going on even closer to the Olympics than it normally would, which could impact some players’ plans to play. Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are all listed on team USA’s roster, as is Jordan Nwora for Nigeria. The NBA Finals is already set to go at least six games, which would mean ending on July 20, but if it goes to a game seven, then the series would not be over until July 22, a day before the Opening Ceremony. We’ll have to wait and see how that all works out.

In the meantime, the men’s basketball tournament will feature group play in the preliminary rounds before the knockout stage begins. Here are the group breakdowns:

Group A: Czech Republic, France, Iran, USA
Group B: Australia, Germany, Italy, Nigeria
Group C: Argentina, Japan, Spain, Slovenia

Here is everything else you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament and how to watch it. Plus, here's a guide on how to watch all of the Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament schedule

July 24
Czech Republic 84, Iran 78

July 25
Italy 92, Germany 82
Australia 84, Nigeria 67
France 83, USA 76

July 26
Slovenia 118, Argentina 100
Spain 88, Japan 77

July 27
Germany 99, Nigeria 92

July 28
USA 120, Iran 66
Australia 86, Italy 83
France 97, Czech Republic 77

July 29
Slovenia 116, Japan 81
Spain 81, Argentina 71

July 30
Iran vs. France, 9 p.m. ET, TBD

July 31
Italy vs. Nigeria, 12:40 a.m. ET, TBD
Australia vs. Germany, 4:20 a.m. ET, TBD
USA vs. Czech Republic, 8 a.m. ET, NBC, Peacock Premium

Aug. 1
Argentina vs. Japan, 12:40 a.m. ET
Spain vs. Slovenia, 4:20 a.m. ET

Aug. 2
Quarterfinals No. 1, TBD vs. TBD, 9 p.m. ET, TBD

Aug. 3
Quarterfinals No. 2, TBD vs. TBD, 12:40 a.m. ET, TBD
Quarterfinals No. 3, TBD vs. TBD, 4:20 a.m. ET, USA
Quarterfinals No. 4, TBD vs. TBD, 8 a.m. ET, USA
*an unspecified quarterfinals game will replay on NBCSN at 10:45 p.m. ET

Aug. 5
Semifinal No. 1, TBD vs. TBD, 12:15 a.m. ET, TBD
Semifinal No. 2, TBD vs. TBD, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN
* replays of the games will be aired at 6 p.m. ET on USA and 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Aug. 6
Gold Medal Game, TBD vs. TBD, 10:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Aug. 7
Bronze Medal Game, TBD vs. TBD, 7 a.m. ET, USA

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament in the U.S.

On broadcast, NBC will split up coverage of the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament across its main network, NBCSN, USA and CNBC (as far as the televised games we know of). NBC is available as a local channel and can be accessed through an antenna, a cable subscription or a subscription to a vMVPD service like Fubo TV, YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV or Sling TV.

NBCSN, USA and CNBC are all cable channels and are available with certain traditional cable subscriptions or the vMVPD services mentioned above. Subscribers to these cable packages can also access NBC Olympics coverage through the NBC Sports app or NBCSports.com.

NBCUniversal's own Peacock service, meanwhile, will serve as the streaming home for team USA men’s basketball, offering all of their games live on the platform. However, unlike other sports that will be shown on Peacock like gymnastics and track & field, men’s basketball will only be accessible to Peacock Premium subscribers, either the $4.99 ad-supported version or the $9.99 ad-free one.

It is not clear as of publication if other games from the men’s basketball tournament will also be shown live on Peacock Premium.

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament in the U.K./Canada

For any basketball fans across the pond in the U.K., they will need to check the Olympics broadcast schedule from BBC and Eurosport on whether they will be covering any of the men’s basketball games. If not on broadcast TV, streaming will be available through BBC iPlayer and Eurosport Player/Discovery Plus or highlights of all events will be included on their respective websites.

In Canada, live streams of many of the men’s basketball tournament games will be available through CBC Gem, a dedicated Tokyo Olympics website and the CBC Olympics app. It is unclear if the basketball action will get any coverage on broadcast TV — CBC’s schedule as of publication consists of four Olympics-centric programs taking place throughout the day, but no details on what will be covered.

How to watch the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament from anywhere

Basketball has a global fanbase, so there’s probably plenty of excitement for watching men’s basketball action at the Tokyo Olympics from around the world. But what to do if you don’t have immediate access to coverage or want specific coverage from NBC or another country? That’s where a virtual private network (VPN) can come in.

A VPN routes the network traffic to and from your computer through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing for users to watch content on an encrypted feed.  

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with all of the action of the Olympics from anywhere in the world.View Deal

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.