One thing you notice upon arriving in Turkey is that they really are excited about the FIBA World Championships. This suits me perfectly as I share that attitude entirely!

On the plane I was greeted by advertisements for the Nokia FIBA Bball App (go and download it from the Ovi Store if you have a new breed Nokia) and then upon landing there were numerous banners promoting the event itself. There was a clear buzz in the air as I walked out of the airport to see “FIBA Press” signs being thrust at arriving passengers and the road out of the airport featured Kobe Bryant‘s image on a street corner, towering over a man driving a donkey-drawn cart with fruit and vegetables. An awesome juxtaposition, which was further amplified in its beauty by the looming Cappadocia hills in the background.

Turkey is a country that is certainly not foreign to basketball. Football may take first place in the hearts of the Turkish people, but basketball features somewhere in there as well. Within ten minutes of driving out from Kayseri airport, I had spotted no less than seven outdoor basketball courts along the main road. This is impressive no matter where you come from.

Tonight we watch the first games of the tournament in Group B, with Australia taking on Jordan, Angola v Serbia and Germany attempting to contain Argentina. All three matches appear to have pre-determined outcomes, with Australia, Serbia and Argentina the favourites, however there are no true certainties in a tournament like this. For starters, Serbia is without centre, Nenad Krstic after his chair-throwing incident last week — making them a much easier proposition for the always tough Angola. Secondly, Argentina has now lost Andres Nocioni, in addition to the already missing Manu Ginobili, thus throwing some of their plans out of wack.

But, that’s why they play the games… bring it on.

Part of this article was also posted to the Nokia Official FIBA Bball App — download it at the Ovi Store on your Nokia mobile.