Since 1936, basketball has been an Olympic sport in one form or another. The men’s competition has been at every Olympics since its introduction in 1936, and the women’s competition has appeared at every Olympics since 1976. Despite not being able to send professional players from the NBA until 1989, the USA dominated the men’s basketball competition with teams of college players, winning 9 of the first 12 Olympic Gold Medals on offer (including an unbeaten streak from 1936-1968). The Americans have also dominated the female version of the game, winning 7 of the 10 Olympic Golds to date (including the last 5 straight).
The most well-known team to ever compete at the Olympics was the American men’s team in 1992, affectionately known as the Dream Team. After a ruling in 1989 allowed NBA players to participate in International Tournaments, the USA selected a team of superstars including Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley. They won all their games by an average of 44 points to secure the Gold Medal as the most dominant team ever.
Australia has a mixed history in Olympic basketball, with our women’s team, the Opals, being the most successful in winning 3 silver medals from 2000-2008, bookended by bronze medals in 1996 and 2012. Led by Suzy Batkovic and Laura Hodges, the Opals qualified for Rio 2016 with a series win over New Zealand. Household names like Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor and Liz Cambage will look to lead their push for a first Gold Medal in 2016.
Our men’s team, the Boomers, have lost in the bronze medal playoff on 3 occasions (1988, 1996 & 2000) and this remains the closest we’ve come to a medal. However, there is renewed hope for Rio 2016 with arguably our strongest line up ever being assembled. Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Aaron Baynes, Dante Exum, Joe Ingles and Ben Simmons will all be playing in the NBA come Rio 2016 and will come together in an attempt to bring home a much desired medal.
|1988 SEOUL||SOVIET UNION||YUGOSLAVIA||USA|
|1984 LOS ANGELES||USA||SPAIN||YUGOSLAVIA|
|1992 BARCELONA||UNIFIED TEAM*||CHINA||USA|
|1988 SEOUL||USA||YUGOSLAVIA||SOVIET UNION|
|1984 LOS ANGELES||USA||SOUTH KOREA||CHINA|