35 Years Ago Today, FIBA Votes To Allow Professional Basketball Players In International Events


On April 7, 1989, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) made a landmark decision that would forever alter the landscape of international basketball. On this historic day, FIBA voted to drop restrictions on the participation of professional basketball players in events such as the Olympics.

Until then, the Olympics had been primarily reserved for amateur athletes. However, FIBA recognized the need for change. By removing the word “Amateur” from its name, FIBA transformed into the Fédération Internationale de Basketball (International Basketball Federation). This pivotal decision paved the way for a new era in the sport.

The impact of this decision was felt most profoundly during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. For the first time ever, the United States assembled a 12-man squad composed of professional athletes. This legendary team, aptly named the “Dream Team,” featured basketball icons such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.

The “Dream Team” dominated the competition, going undefeated and securing the gold medal. Their style of play, charisma, and sheer talent captivated audiences worldwide. The success of the “Dream Team” played a pivotal role in the globalization of basketball. Future European stars like Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tony Parker drew inspiration from this elite collection of talent.

The impact of FIBA’s decision reverberates to this day. The “Dream Team” was inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame. Their legacy transcends borders, uniting fans across continents.

As we celebrate this anniversary, let’s recognize the visionaries who transformed basketball into the global phenomenon it is today.

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