Basketball in France: An Overview

The history of basketball in France began not long after Europe created its own governing body for the sport, the Fédération Internacionale de Basket-Ball or FIBA.

 French teams have played nationally and internationally since 1936, when men's basketball first became part of the Olympic Summer Games, according to FIBA. French basketball history features many ups and downs.

Creation of the FFBB

The Fédération Française de Basket-Ball, or FFBB, was established in 1932, the same year that Europe established FIBA, the sport's international governing body. The FFBB joined FIBA in 1933, according to FIBA.

 The FFBB currently oversees the French Ligue Nationale de Basket-ball, created in 1983, and the Ligue Feminine de Basket-ball, created in 1998. It also oversees amateur basketball clubs for French players of all ages and holds national and international basketball competitions, such as the Coupe de France, every year, according to the FFBB's official website.

Notable Victories

The French national basketball team won its first Olympic medal in 1948, according to Basketball Tips. The team, led by Robert Busnel, took silver in the 1948 Games, second only to the U.S. team.

The team also won the 1951 and 1953 Eurobasket tournaments under the direction of coach Andre Vacheresse. The Olympic team also won a silver medal in Sydney and picked up a bronze medal Eurobasket, according to the FFBB's official website.

Notable Defeats

After its early victories, the French basketball team began to take a downhill slide internationally, according to the authors at Basketball Tips. Its long string of defeats began at the FIBA World Championships in 1950, when the French team lost to the Egyptian team 31-28 due to a referee's error, according to FIBA.

 In the 1963 championships, the French team finished dead last. The French team failed to qualify for another Olympics until 1984 and did not win an international title until 1999, when it won the Eurobasket bronze medal, according to FIBA.

French Basketball Today

Although the French team failed to qualify for the Olympics, it won a second bronze medal in that year's Eurobasket finals, according to FIBA. In addition, the French women's team, consisting of the LFB's best players, won the 2009 Eurobasket gold medal.

Coached by Pierre Vincent, the women's team narrowly lost the 2010 Eurobasket championships to the U.S. and Australia, yet were able to take third place without a single gold-medal player from the previous year's team, according to FIBA.

Donald S. Cochran
 

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