Drew Gooden was born in Oakland, went to college in Kansas, and has made a living playing for 10 NBA franchises across the United States.
Now the Wizards forward plans on extending his footprint overseas at the end of the month when he suits up for Finland in the FIBA World Cup, according to a person with knowledge of Gooden’s intentions. Gooden, 32, is eligible to play for Finland because his mother is Finnish.
Finland, ranked 39th in the FIBA world rankings, is one of four wild cards in the World Cup, which is scheduled to begin in Bilbao, Spain, on Aug. 30. Finland’s first opponent in Group C play? The United States.
The World Cup will be Finland’s first worldwide FIBA competition. The Nordic nation’s worldwide basketball tournament history is limited to two Olympic appearances, in 1952 and 1964. Finland was granted an automatic berth in the 1952 tournament because the country hosted the Games.
Other familiar names on the Finnish roster include Hanno Mottola and Erik Murphy. Mottola played two seasons in the NBA for the Hawks after playing at the University of Utah. Murphy, now with the Cavaliers, played collegiately at Florida and for the Jazz last season.
Gooden joined the Wizards on a 10-day contract in February and finished the campaign with the team. The 12-year veteran re-signed with the Wizards last month.