Michael Pavitt ©ITG

We interrupt this Jason Derulo concert to bring you the outcome of the FIBA Basketball World Cup draw.

The FIBA Basketball World Cup draw continued the theme of recent sporting draw ceremonies, which have become almost a spectacle in their own right.

A process to draw 32 teams into eight groups took an impressive one hour 15 minutes. Yes, really. I make that out to be over two minutes per team to be drawn.

For the record, I am not one of those people screaming at a screen urging them to get on with it, but I am sure there would be basketball fans who simply wanted to discover their nations’ opponents in a couple of months’ time.

You can argue the length of the ceremony and sheer scale was necessary having filled out the Shenzhen Cultural Center, with the YouTube stream showing a cavernous venue.

Plus, if you have flown officials from the competing nations to China, I imagine there would be a few complaints had the names been fired out of the pots like some militarised operation.

The draw did follow several of the usual protocols which are now standard. The FIBA President delivering a speech, the hosts highlighting the venues for the Championships in highly polished and slightly dramatic venues and the appearance of the mascot.

Then you add in the assistance of the official ambassadors in the draw. In the Basketball World Cups case, you probably cannot get bigger than Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming.

I remain completely baffled as to why American singer songwriter Jason Derulo headlined the draw, which feels an odd three-word phrase to write. Derulo had three different stints on stage during proceedings.

American singer songwriter Jason Derulo headlined the FIBA Basketball World Cup draw ©Getty Images
American singer songwriter Jason Derulo headlined the FIBA Basketball World Cup draw ©Getty Images

One of the highlights was the names of the competing teams being drawn out of mini basketballs.

A world governing body which seems to differ from the current draw convention is the International Judo Federation. I remember turning up at their draw for the 2015 World Championships wondering just how long it would take to draw over 700 athletes in 14 different divisions.

Following the usual speeches from officials, I remember being startled when watching a computer firing names across a screen with each draw conducted in roughly a minute. With the draw having whizzed by, you were left pouring over the outcomes afterwards trying to work out who had received a "good path" towards the finals.

Football draws have gained attention over the years for a variety of reasons. For instance, the UEFA Champions League draw has become notorious for club officials being interviewed afterwards, only to all deliver exactly the same response.

Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain gave the auto-response when asked about the quarter-final draw earlier this week.

"Everybody deserves to be a candidate in this competition," he said."Ajax, they eliminate Real Madrid, Porto [the same] with Roma - everyone is a candidate."

Shocking news that all the teams left in a competition could possibly win the competition.

FIFA have become known for producing elaborate draws, some of which have not gone to plan. The 1982 World Cup draw produced one of the biggest errors.

None of the six groups were able to feature two South American teams. With two South American teams joining four European nations in Pot B of the draw, the first European nations drawn were set to be allocated to groups containing the seeded Argentina and Brazil. This was forgotten when the draw was conducted, leaving to the awkward realisation that South American teams would be drawn together.

Having eventually corrected the mistake, the ceremony appeared to be getting back on track until the revolving drums used to conduct the draw broke, preventing the balls from being released.

Having recovered from his first experience of conducting the draw the the FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter ended up coping with an eccentric performance from Robin Williams for the 1994 World Cup draw 12 years on.

Fast forward until 2016 a former FIFA President… Blatter… continued his legacy of draw drama when he claimed had used hot and cold balls in order to "fix" some European football draws. The allegation, which included the suggestion the balls had been placed in refrigerators, was swiftly denied by UEFA.

Nonetheless, the claim has passed into football folklore and aided the increasing belief of fans that draws must be fixed against their own team. Funny that.

Occasionally the draw assistants have been from people outside of the sport. The fifth round draw from the 1992 Football League Cup in England, then known as the Rumbelows Cup, was conducted in New York City at Trump Tower.

You can guess where this is going.


The teams were indeed drawn out by one Donald J. Trump, future President of the United States as part of the Saint and Greavsie programme. The programme was hosted by former Liverpool player Ian St John and Tottenham’s record goal scorer Jimmy Greaves.

The highlight of the clip, which has understandably gained wider attention in the past couple of years, was Leeds United being drawn against rivals Manchester United.

"Ooh, Donald" St John states as the tie is drawn, with Greaves adding "you don’t realise what you’ve done there".

The competition went on something of a tour again last season when under the new sponsorship of the Thai drink company Carabao, proceedings for the first round took place Bangkok.

Some controversy was caused when the same team were drawn twice, while graphics later showed ties which had not come out of the hat. Further criticism came later in the competition when a draw was conducted in Beijing, with the scheduled time meaning it took place at 4am back in the UK. A stream designed to show the draw to night owls then failed to start….

One thing appears certain for draws. There will continue to be overblown, mistake ridden and oddly enjoyable.