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World Basketball Championship

Two of the most important worldwide indoor sports events, the FIBA World Basketball Championships and World Championships in Athletics are considered italian events. However, " they have never been hosted in Italy".


The 60 years that changed basketball and the world

The FIBA World Basketball Championships started in 1950 and are regarded as” children” of the Olympics. As the Olympics, , their performance shows the geopolitical changes the world has gone through in the last sixty years. The idea of creating a world championship specifically for basketball arose from the unexpected success of basketball games during the 1948 Olympics.
Just as the Olympics, it was decided right from the beginning that the Championships would take place every four years. It would be held on a year that would not coincide with the one Olympic Games. Throughout the Fifties, the Americas fought for basketball supremacy and it was reflected by the countries choosen to host the event and medal standings. From 1950 to 1967, the first five editionswere all held in South America,: Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and two in Brazil. The first four finals were won by Argentina, United States and then Brazil for two consecutive times. In the 1967 Montevideo finals, things had changed: the two contenders for the title were Soviet Union and Yuguslavia. These teams won two titles each, before their countries were dissolved. . Today there is another team named Yugoslavia, but it only represents Serbia. It is considered an indirect heir of the previous team, , but the two titles it won, in 1998 and 2002, cannot be added to the ones won by the previous team.

A problem of words

Apart from the conspicuous presence of states been overwhelmed by history, among the curious aspects of the medal stand the discontinous performances of the United States. After winning the gold medal in 1954 against Brazil, it took 32 years for the Americans to rise again to the top of the podiumwhich happened in 1986. .. During all these events,the U.S. team was unable to reach the semifinals. This seems odd considering how popular the game was in the country that created this sport and the absolute supremacy of its great athletic teams.
This inconsistency can be explained by the lack of interest shown for a long time by the American basketball world to what was happening outside its national borders. To participate to the first edition was sent the after-work team of a car factory. The team could win the silver, but its defeat against Argentina in the finals was a historic turning point . It was the first time a U.S. team was beaten in an international stadium.
For the Americans, this championship had two fundamental problems. The first one was the FIBA "A" finals . FIBA is an acronym that stands for Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur , namely the International Amateur Basketball Federation. This aspect cut out the great NBA players. There were still future professional teams who played in college, but they had little incentive to participate because they did not see career advantages in competing against nationals that left their fans and their sponsors cold.

A historical edition

In 1989, FIBA decided to remove the word "amateur" from its name, while retaining the "A" in its acronyme because it’s the second letter in basketball. During this period, , the basketball world had improved exponentially, with an increasing number of teams able to compete with the U.S. teams on equal footing. On one hand, we had the Americans’ growing interest for the world championship and United States putting together teams with professional players. On the other hand, USA champions were in front of nationals able to assert themselves and decided not to be intimidated by their strength.
Result: Having won first place in 1994 against Croatia, it took the U.S. team another 16 years, and a team full of NBA champions, to winthe World Cup finals again. It happened in 2010, in Istanbul.The 2010 edition was also historic for other reasons:: two of the three winning teams, Turkey with the silver and Lithuania with the bronze, were new in the league. The Istanbul podium confirms how much basketball has evolved over the past six decades.

Made in Italy Final

In 1932, Italy was one of the eight founding members of FIBA. However, they has never hosted the World Cup and the Italian team has never won a medal. It reached the semifinals, finishing in fourth position, only twice: in 1970 and 1978.
In 2010, Italy was well represented in the finals of what Turkey has enthusiastically proclaimed was "the best World Cup ever", as Tournament Director Predrag Bogoslavljev said to us. The court surface used was Fast Break System 2 Wood made by Mondo, an italian company. The electronic scoreboards were also from Mondo. The spectators were sitting on the comfortable Mondoseat 5 to follow the game while players were putting the ball into Mondo baskets.

After the championship

One of the problems that great international sporting events have to address is the fate of the stadium once the event is finished. For the Turkish league, "all investments have been designed to become the event’s most important legacy and to meet the city’s needs ", explains Bogoslavljev. When we look at the Sinan Erdem Dome calendar of forthcoming international events, we can see that these are not just words, but actual fact. First, the stadium has become home for the city’s main basketball teams, Efes Pilsen and Fenerbahçe Ülker. Then, in March 2012, it will host the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics, and a month later, the FINA Short Course Swimming World Championships.   Also, from 2011 to 2013, they will host theWTA Championships, the end of season women’s tennis tournament that takes place after the four Grand Slams.
The possibility of hosting different types of events was made possible by choosing Mondo Fast Break System 2.  Due to its unique quick assembly and dismantling features, it allows fast set up and removal of the playing surface, without feeling any difference in performance compared with a fixed court.

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