Learn about the history of Eurobasket and find out some cool facts!

Hopefully, you already checked out our blog about Eurobasket 2022 with all the info and details about this year’s competition and teams, and now we will try to educate you a bit with some interesting stuff. Who knows, it might come in handy if you are trying to impress someone or dominate the local pub quiz ;D

The beginning

Before we get into the competition’s first edition (held in 1935), we figured it would be good to point out that FIBA was founded in 1932 and Eurobasket was basically the first major event it organized. Furthermore, it is also an interesting digression that the former USSR is the most successful nation with 14 Eurobasket titles, but it wasn’t until 1947 that they won their first one. Now we can go back to the 1st  edition from 1935 and let you know that the first European champion of the most beautiful sport was – Latvia!
After them, and before the dominance of the USSR, Lithuania and Czechoslovakia also became champions. Still, things remained interesting even later on. So, for example, the 1949 competition was held in Egypt and the host nation became the champion of Europe!

Former Yugoslavia was closely following the Soviet dominance we mentioned with a number of silver and bronze medals before it won its first gold in 1973. And then they defended their title in 1975. Finally, they got a three-peat in 1977. Slowly but surely, other countries started making their way to the highest levels, and Italy, Greece, and Germany won their first gold medals during the 80s and the 90s. Finally, after the year 2000 present-day powerhouses such as Spain and France started winning numerous medals of their own.

Modern giants

Spain truly is one of the giants when talking about basketball globally. At the moment, they are in first place in Europe and in second place, only behind the United States of America, on the map of global basketball. Given the medals they won across all major competitions, Spain is considered one of the two most successful teams in the history of international basketball. During this decade, Spain enjoyed an incredible amount of prosperity and success. The 2019 FIBA World Cup was won by the team led by Ricky Rubio, who also received the Most Valuable Player award, and Marc Gasol was named to the All-Tournament team.

Since we also mentioned France, here is a quick look at their impressive achievements and current status: they are ranked fourth in the FIBA World Rankings. The 2022 France basketball team may be the most well-rounded squad in the Eurobasket tournament. The French are outstanding in every facet of the game, but their defense is, without a doubt, their most powerful weapon. The French national basketball team has qualified for a total of 39 (out of 41) Eurobasket appearances. The year 2013 was their most successful performance, as they won the gold medal. They also came away with two silver medals (1949 and 2011) and six bronze medals (1937, 1951, 1953, 1959, 2005, 2015). In addition, France took home a bronze medal at the 2014 and 2019 FIBA World Cup tournaments as well as silver at 1948, 2000, and 2020 Olympics.

Outstanding players

Along with the teams, some players really let the entire world know about them at this continental showdown. To a certain extent, the most recent example is Luka Dončić who will be trying to repeat as champion with his Slovenian countrymen. However, we also want to give a special shoutout to a few players who had legendary careers and won a whole collection of Eurobasket medals:

Predrag Danilović: 4 golds and 1 bronze
Krešimir Ćosić: 3 golds, 3 silvers and 1 bronze
Pau Gasol: 3 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze medals

Also, Ćosić and Pau Gasol are the only players to win the MVP award twice while Nikos Galis and Radivoj Korać were the leading scorers 4 times each. Also, also 😀 Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki were the top scorers 3 times each while Tony Parker did it twice.  Pau, Tony, and Dirk are also all-time leading scorers (in the order listed here).

That should cover all the fun and interesting stuff so we hope you enjoyed it and definitely let us know if you know some other cool facts!