MANCHESTER, England The question would be almost unimaginable in the United States.
"Who's No. 6?" a reporter asked a U.S. official.
Yes, even LeBron James isn't recognized everywhere in Britain, where soccer is king and basketball is hardly an afterthought.
That will change at least briefly today, with James and the U.S. Olympic team bringing it some rare attention with a game against Britain.
It's only an exhibition, so the result doesn't matter. But the event does to those who want to see basketball gain a place in Britain's sports culture.
"This is a massive opportunity for British basketball to get some oxygen, to breathe life into the sport in this country," said Chris Mitchell, who calls Britain's games for BBC Radio. "Team USA being here is arguably the biggest-ever game this country has hosted. It's arguably bigger than any game they'll play at the Olympics, because they'll only face USA if they get through their group and perhaps meet them in the quarterfinals. So this, this week, it's almost the climax to the history of British basketball. It's huge."
Manchester Arena is expected to be full, many fans familiar with Kobe Bryant but with no clue how to pronounce the name of U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski.
It probably won't be very competitive, but it will give the Americans the opportunity to play in front of the opponent's fans for the first time during their preparations for the London Olympics.
"They will represent their country, they will cheer on their team, and hopefully we can just play well in front of them," James said.
Basketball has such little presence in Britain that FIBA, the sport's governing body, didn't immediately award the hosts the traditional automatic bid into the Olympic tournament. It wanted to be certain there would be a legacy beyond the London Games, that support for the home team's program would spark interest in watching, playing and following the sport.
Maya Moore scored 18 points and Lindsay Whalen 13 to help the U.S. women overcome a sluggish start to beat Britain 88-63 in an exhibition game.
The Americans trailed by 11 points in the first 7 minutes before taking over.
The U.S. women's team has won four straight Olympic gold medals, Britain is a newcomer playing in its first Games.
"I'm delighted with our progress," Britain coach Tom Maher said. "Four years ago, we were rubbish. Now we can play and look respectable."
Opening Ceremony Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of "Slumdog Millionaire" has been forced to trim parts of next Friday's ceremony including removal of a stunt bike sequence to make sure the show finishes on time and spectators can get home before public transportation shuts down.
London organizers said Boyle was "tightening" the ceremony by up to 30 minutes to ensure the show, scheduled for three hours, concludes between midnight and 12:30 a.m. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has said he will perform the closing act.
Olympic village water woes Parts of the athletes village are without water after delays installing pipes.
The cafe in the village's shopping area was closed for several hours and other "grab and go" cafes also were affected.
With the cafe doors closed unexpectedly, staff members told athletes and guests trying to gain access that there were "water restrictions." Organizers expect the issue to be resolved by today.
BBC locks in TV rights The International Olympic Committee sold British rights for the next four Olympic Games to state broadcaster the BBC, lifting European broadcast earnings above $1 billion for the next four-year commercial cycle.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but cover the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games and the 2020 Summer Games. The 2020 Olympics host will be chosen in September 2013.
South Africa Caster Semenya will carry her country's flag at the Opening Ceremony in her first Olympics, three years after she was embroiled in a gender-test controversy that threatened her career and sidelined her from competition for nearly a year.
Australia Three badminton players suffered food poisoning at the team's English training camp. They are expected to resume training today.