.basketball at the Olympics
2004 – The year that dreams came true in Athens.
Basketball is a relatively young sport invented in December 1891. The man considered to be ‘the father of basketball’ is Canadian James Naismith. He worked as an instructor at the YMCA sports school in Massachusetts and was looking for an indoor game to play during the long cold winters in New England. He set 13 rules, most of which still apply today. The first women’s game was played in 1893 at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, USA.
Basketball premieres at the Olympic games
Basketball had its premiere at the Games in 1904 in St. Louis as a demonstration sport and featured two American teams. At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, it was included in the regular program and has remained an integral and popular part of all Olympic Games to this day.
There was no qualification required for basketball at the 1936 games, so 23 countries competed: Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Spain and Switzerland from Europe, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay,
and the United States from America, China, Egypt, Japan, Philippines and Turkey.
As it still does today, The United States has dominated Olympic basketball, winning all titles until 1972 when it was defeated by the then USSR at the Munich Games.
Women’s basketball premiered at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976, and the gold medal was won by the Soviet Union in 1976, 1980, and 1992. Outside of that Olympic women’s basketball was also dominated by the United States.
At the 1992 Barcelona Games, professional NBA players were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games and represent the United States for the first time. The team, known as the “Dream Team”, was undoubtedly the best basketball team ever formed. They delighted the audience and dominated the tournament in Barcelona.
Today basketball is one of the most most watched and highly anticipated sports at the Olympic Games, attracting fans all over the world. People enjoy watching the best players from the NBA competing against each other with their national teams. Every team wants to measure themselves against the best – the USA, hoping to secure an upset against the best players and biggest names in the world of basketball.
Argentina shines in the 2004 Olympics in Athens
In the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the world eagerly watched one of the best stories in basketball history, “directed” by team Argentina.
It was a winning combination and a precursor of what was to come in the next couple of years from team Argentina. A unique once in a century group of talent had come together. Manu Ginobili was the heart and engine of the team on both sides of the floor. Fabricio Oberto, an old school center was at the zenith of his career at the time. Grumpy and physically strong, Andres Nocioni, had a high basketball IQ and did not shirk the “dirty work”. Leading them all, Captain Hugo Sconochini, the bedrock and founder of that golden generation.
In the semifinal, Argentina was matched against team USA. Argentina had beaten the USA at the 2002 World Championships. But that was a different team and this was the Olympics. The USA now consisted of NBA superstars Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan,
Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. How realistic is it that Argentina could beat the USA powerhouse in two consecutive big competitions?
Despite losing badly to the USA 106-73 in 2003’s Olympic Qualifiers, Argentina’s Fabricio Oberto recalls a confidence in the team leading up to the game.
“Nocioni entered the locker room and said: ‘Tomorrow we will beat the USA’,” recalls Oberto.
It was a battle of the titans. “We felt blood,” said Ginobili about the last quarter of that match. When the clocked ticked over the final seconds, the score was ARG 89 – USA 81. Argentina had managed to do the unimaginable and beat the USA and go through
to the finals against Italy.
The finals again saw great play from team Argentina as they secured an 84:69 win and a dream that became reality. More evidence that the game of basketball produces drama and storylines to rival any novel, one of the reasons people all over the world passionately watch this amazing sport.
As one of the leading basketball nations on the planet, we are proud to have Argentina as part of the .basketball family. Find out more about basketball in Argentina by going to their official website here – www.argentina.basketball and secure your own .basketball domain name by clicking the link below.