Basketball

Facts

Discipline of Basketball
Participants 3413
NOCs 66
Competitions held 30 (Venues)
Distinct events 3
IF Fédération internationale de basket-ball

Description

Basketball is one of the few sports for which the precise origin is known. The game was invented in 1891 by James W. Naismith, an instructor at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, now Springfield College. The game was originally played with peach baskets and an attendant on a ladder retrieved the ball after a made basket. Naismith formulated 13 rules of the game, of which 12 still form the basics of the modern game.

In 1936, basketball made its first appearance as a medal sport at the Olympics. In 1976, women’s basketball was added to the program. The United States has dominated international basketball. The U.S. won all the Olympic titles until 1972 when it was upset by the Soviet Union in a very controversial game. The Soviet women were originally the top team on the female side, but the U.S. women have surpassed them, winning the gold medal in 1984, 1988, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008.

Today, basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the world. U.S. college basketball is wildly popular in the United States and the National Basketball Association (NBA) has engendered international interest. In addition, numerous international leagues have added to the growth of the sport. In 1992, for the first time, the United States was allowed to use professional players from the NBA. This NBA All-Star Team, dubbed “The Dream Team” by the world’s media, is certainly the greatest basketball team ever assembled and dominated the 1992 Olympic tournament. An NBA All-Star team also represented the United States in 1996 and 2000, winning those gold medals as well, though the margin between the NBA and the rest of the world is shrinking, and in 2004, despite using NBA players, the United States men won only a bronze medal. However, in 2008, the United States team again won the gold medal, after instituting a program to restore the USA to international prominence under the tutelage of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Basketball is governed worldwide by the Fédération internationale de basket-ball (FIBA), formerly known as the Fédération Internationale de Basket-ball Amateur, that was founded on 18 June 1932 in Geneva, Switzerland, with eight founding members: Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland. As a measure of its popularity, FIBA currently (2018) has 213 member nations.

Two women, Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards, have won four Olympic basketball gold medals, with Edwards adding a bronze to make her the only Olympian with five basketball medals. Two men have won four medals – Soviets Sergey Belov and Gennady Volnov.

All-time medal table

NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States USA 23 2 3 28
Soviet Union URS 4 4 4 12
Yugoslavia YUG 1 4 2 7
Argentina ARG 1 0 1 2
Unified Team EUN 1 0 0 1
Spain ESP 0 4 1 5
Australia AUS 0 3 2 5
France FRA 0 3 0 3
Italy ITA 0 2 0 2
Brazil BRA 0 1 4 5
Bulgaria BUL 0 1 1 2
People's Republic of China CHN 0 1 1 2
Serbia SRB 0 1 1 2
Canada CAN 0 1 0 1
Croatia CRO 0 1 0 1
Republic of Korea KOR 0 1 0 1
Serbia and Montenegro SCG 0 1 0 1
Lithuania LTU 0 0 3 3
Russian Federation RUS 0 0 3 3
Uruguay URU 0 0 2 2
Cuba CUB 0 0 1 1
Mexico MEX 0 0 1 1

Most successful competitors

Athlete Nat Gold Silver Bronze Total
Teresa Edwards USA 4 0 1 5
Lisa Leslie USA 4 0 0 4
Sue Bird USA 4 0 0 4
Tamika Catchings USA 4 0 0 4
Diana Taurasi USA 4 0 0 4
Carmelo Anthony USA 3 0 1 4
Dawn Staley USA 3 0 0 3
Sheryl Swoopes USA 3 0 0 3
Katie Smith USA 3 0 0 3
Sylvia Fowles USA 3 0 0 3
Seimone Augustus USA 3 0 0 3

Event types

Name Gender Still contested? Times held?
Basketball Men 22
Basketball Women 11
Basketball Boys 4