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When Did Basketball Become an Olympic Sport?

Basketball had something of an inauspicious beginning at the Olympics in 1936. The German authorities overseeing the Summer Games in Berlin thought so little of the sport that it was played outside on a dirt court with wooden baskets. It was overseen by officials who spoke only German, making communication with the players very challenging. The gold medal game between the United States and Canada was played in the pouring rain, meaning that the court surface quickly turned into mud. To make matters worse, the basketball itself had a hole in its side for inflating the internal bladder, so it was not the round, bouncy ball that players enjoy today. In fact, dribbling was basically impossible. Nevertheless, the United States won the game, 19-8.

What you might not know about basketball:

  • There is a basketball gym in the U.S. Supreme Court building; it is nicknamed "the highest court in the land."
  • According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, approximately 60 percent of NBA players go broke within five years of retiring.
  • Shaquille O'Neal attempted 22 three-point field goals in his NBA career; he made one.
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