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basketball

Olympic and International Basketball

An exhibition match was played at the 1904 Olympics, but basketball did not become an official part of the games until 1936. International rules and court dimensions differ some from U.S. standards, but changes in 2010 reduced the differences. Still, the United States outclassed the rest of the world until 1972, when the Soviet Union defeated the U.S. team for the gold medal (despite American protests that the Soviets had been allowed to score a basket after the game had ended). In the 1980s, many nations achieved parity with the United States, which was still fielding a team of collegians. The U.S. Olympic Committee therefore assembled for the 1992 games a "Dream Team" composed of one collegian and the finest professional players, who handily won the gold medal.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA, from its name in French), which was founded in 1932, governs international basketball competition, including the FIBA World Championship (est. 1950) and FIBA Women's World Championship (est. 1953). Contested by national teams, these quadrennial championships have been held during the same year since 1986. Other FIBA championships include regional titles for both national and club teams and the FIBA World Club Championship (est. 2010). Professional basketball leagues exist in Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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