Spreading the Basketball Gospel

Basketball is often overlooked as one of the world's major sports; but the fact that so many other countries on all of the continents play their own brand of the game gives pause to those who think that global hoops is only NBA. It's not, and there's a very rich history still waiting to be mined.

Those curious about the history and evolution of basketball in Europe should check out Fabien Archambault, Loïc Artiaga, and Gérard Bosc's edited volume, Le Continent basket: L’Europe et le basket-ball au XXe siècle, (Peter Lang, 2015). It's in French, but you can read my English-language review, "A Continent of Cagers," for The All-Rounder for a treetops version and some key take-aways of how this born-global sport spread thanks to different influences and confluence of events during the twentieth century. 

But, as I argue this week in "How Basketball Became the World's Second-Biggest Sport" (Washington Post), the ways that the 1948 Olympic basketball tournament enabled diffusion of game tactics and techniques, helped strengthen the sport around the world and provided the foundations for today's growth. It's a game played practically everywhere, and poised to continue growth, thanks to FIBA's embrace of 3X3 and more. Look for more countries to become dominant hoops countries thanks to this new discipline, such as the Philippines and Italy.