Basketball: Tall Blacks need to overcome NBA superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic to qualify for Paris Olympics

Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Tall Blacks face a tough ask on their road to the 2024 Paris Olympics, drawn against NBA superstars at a six-strong qualifying tournament.  

At Piraeus, Greece next July, New Zealand will face their hosts, as well as Slovenia, Croatia, Egypt and the Dominican Republic, with the winners sealing a place at the Olympics.  

Initially seeded as part of Group A, the Tall Blacks will face Slovenia and Croatia initially, with the top two teams advancing to semi-finals and final to book their tickets to Paris.

Slovenia boast Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, who helped steer his nation to fourth place at the 2020 tokyo Olympics, beaten by Australia in the bronze-medal match.

Provided the Tall Blacks advance from their group, they would also likely come up against Greece and Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The power forward missed his country's Basketball World Cup campaign, where Greece defeated New Zealand 83-74 to end their hopes of advancing beyond the groupstage.   

Dominican Republic can call on Minnesota Timberwolves centre Karl-Anthony Towns, as another NBA star potentially standing in between New Zealand and Paris 2024.   

Three other events will run concurrently in Latvia, Puerto Rico and Spain, with the winners of each taking their place at Paris.  

The Tall Blacks haven't played at the Olympics since Athens 2004, where they finished fifth in their group to miss the quarter-finals.