The success of international basketball was greatly advanced by Forrest C. (“Phog”) Allen, a Naismith disciple and a former coach at the University of Kansas, who led the movement for the inclusion of basketball in the Olympic Games in 1936 and thereafter.
Basketball has also been played in the Pan-American Games since their inauguration in 1951. The international game is governed by the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur (FIBA).
World championships began in 1950 for men and in 1953 for women. (The men’s tournament was renamed the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014.) Under international rules the court differs in that there is no frontcourt or backcourt, and the free throw lanes form a modified wedge shape. There are some differences in rules, including those governing substitutions, technical and personal fouls, free throws, intermissions, and time-outs.
Outside the United States there are few places that strictly separate amateur from professional athletes.
Basketball has caught on particularly well in Italy. The Italian professional basketball league (Lega Basket) is highly regarded and popular in that country. Spain also has several basketball leagues, the main one being the ACB (Asociación de Clubes de Baloncesto).
The other major center of European basketball is eastern Europe, particularly the Balkans. Although the European leagues are not formally aligned with the American NBA, there are links between European and American basketball. It is not uncommon for European players to be drafted by the NBA, nor is it uncommon for American players to play in Europe.
American players in the European leagues tend to be older players who have finished successful NBA careers in the United States or younger players who have not yet been drafted into the NBA.
The International Basketball Federation, the world basketball organization’s body, was founded in 1932, and gathers 213 national basketball federations from all over the world, and organizes and supervises international competitions that include the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the Olympic Basketball Championship and Basketball 3 x 3.
It establishes the official rules of basketball as well as the regulations governing relations between the various members of the basketball community. They have five regional offices in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
Founded in 2008, the FIBA Foundation is interested in the social, humanitarian and educational activities of FIBA.
Britannica / Sports / Basketball