NEWCASTLE referee Scott Beker will never forget the first time he officiated a game involving the Dream Team even if it was a blur.
It was at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero and the USA, led by superstars Kevin Durante, Carmelo Anthony, Klay Thompson and Paul George, wiped the floor in a 113-69 win over Venezuela.
"As a referee you don't see the names, you just see the player," Beker said. "It was all a blur but I'll never forget it."
Beker, 44, will againn be in control of the USA when they take on an Andrew-Bogut led Australian Boomers in Melbourne next Thursday in the first of two exhibition games.
This time the Dream Team will be spearheaded by young guns Donovan Mitchell and Jason Tatum.
The matches in Melbourne are a warm-up for the World Cup in China, starting August 31, where Beker is one of 56 referees on the panel.
First is a trip to Perth this weekend and back-to-back matches between the Boomers and Canada.
China is Beker's first senior World Cup appointment.
"This is the next biggest thing after the Olympics," he said. "You get nominated by FIBA. We don't know year to year, who is getting nominated for what. You get an email which says be ready to go. All the best available players will be there. It will be pretty exciting.
"We go into camp for a week in Beijing before the tournament. Then the 56 referees will be spread among the eight host cities for the preliminary rounds."
Beker has been refereeing for 29 years and internationally for 14.
He did the under-19 World Cup earlier this year. Officiated at the same tournament in 2009, where he controlled the gold medal game, and was on the panel at the 2017 Asian Champions.
In between, he has refereed nearly 300 National Basketball League games and is preparing for his 19th season.
"The biggest difference as you go up is the pressure and the scrutiny," he said. "There is no where to hide at that level. Millions of people are watching and they hang on every call.
"It's still fun. I get to see the world. There aren't many jobs where you get paid to run around with some amazing athletes."