As far as sports go, the majority of the world is focused on this year’s World Cup, but with the NBA Finals running concurrently, the sport of basketball is making waves and to contribute to the overall excitement emanating from the series between the two storied rivals: the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, Nike recently announced their upcoming World Basketball Festival. News of the World Basketball Festival was heralded with a media summit in New York City late last week in which details of the event were disclosed by Nike Brand President, Charlie Denson, and USA Basketball Chairman, Jerry Colangelo. The inaugural 4-day festival will commence this summer in New York City from August 12 – 15 and it will feature the world’s best basketball teams as well as performances from some of today’s top musical acts.

This ambitious and exciting undertaking by Nike Inc. and its three basketball brands: Nike Basketball, Jordan Brand and Converse should be a welcoming addition to the international basketball community where the immense level of competition has risen drastically over the last two decades. When professionals were admitted into international competition – including the Olympics – US dominance was completely apparent, but teams such as Argentina, Greece, Spain and others have proven to be formidable squadrons making it anyone’s game.

Over the course of 4 days, the World Basketball Festival will contain within it multiple events being played out over some of New York City’s most important locations, both in the world of sports and in general. August 12th will see the legendary Times Square transformed into a sporting venue as a 3,000 seat open-air arena will be placed in it. Members of the US Basketball team will put on an exhibition that day and one of the world’s largest recording artists will entertain spectators as part of the opening day’s festivities. The festival will move over to Harlem’s Rucker Park¬† on the 13th and 14th where practices and scrimmages from Brazil, France, and Puerto Rico’s National Teams will take place. At the conclusion of the 4-day event, the United States will be taking on France and China will go at it against Puerto Rico in a double-header exhibition at the famed Madison Square Garden on Sunday, August 15th.

With the FIBA games around the corner, these exhibitions will whet the international basketball appetite quite nicely; I am definitely looking forward to this one!