Since 1936, Basketball at the Olympics has consistently been an integral part of the sporting extravaganza. Men’s basketball has been part of the Olympics since 1936 while women's basketball made its debut only in the 1976 Summer Olympics. Basketball was held as a demonstration event in 1904, prior to its inclusion as a medal sport. Sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), both the men's and women's FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournaments and the Summer Olympics basketball tournaments are organized by FIBA.
Until the 2016 Rio Olympics, only 5x5 basketball competition has been played in the multi-sporting event but IOC announced that 3x3 basketball would become an official Olympic sport as of the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo, Japan, for both men and women. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Olympics was postponed to 2021.
Venue and Schedule
The men's basketball tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympics will be held from 25 July to 7 August 2021, while the women's basketball tournament will begin on 26 July and will end on 8 August 2021. Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan is the set venue for all the games.
The men's 3x3 basketball tournament will begin on 24 July and will end on 28 July 2021 while the women's 3x3 basketball tournament will begin on 24 July and will end on 28 July 2021. Aomi Urban Sports Park is where all the games will be played.
Both the 5x5 and 3x3 Basketball will consist of two events - the men’s team event and the women’s team event.
The twelve teams are split into three groups of four teams. The first two-placed teams advance to the quarterfinals as well as the two best third-placed teams. After the preliminary round, the teams will be seeded according to their results (four teams seeded and four unseeded), afterwards a draw will determine the pairings. From there a knockout system is used.
As for 3x3 men’s and women’s categories, the participating teams are divided in a pool of eight teams each. A round robin format will be played among the eight teams. The teams placed first and second in each group will qualify for the quarter-finals. The teams from the third to the sixth position will play a playoff. After that, a knockout system will be used.
Olympic Games Basketball Teams
Apart from the host nation Japan, 11 teams will be contesting in the men's 5x5 event. Iran, France, USA and Czech Republic are placed in Group A. Group B consists of Australia, Germany, Italy and Nigeria. While Argentina, Japan (host nation), Spain and Slovenia are placed in Group C.
In the women’s 3x3 category, 12 teams are drawn in 3 groups including host team Japan. South Serbia, Serbia, Canada and Spain are placed in Group A. In Group B, Nigeria, host nation Japan, France and USA will be competing. Group C consists of Australia, Puerto Rico, China and Belgium.
In the 3x3 event, in the men’s category, 8 teams are placed in a pool. The teams are - Serbia, Russia, Latvia, Netherlands, China, Japan, Poland, Belgium. While the women’s pool consists of the following 8 teams - France, Russia, China, Romania, Italy, Japan, Mongolia and USA.
Defending Basketball Olympics Champion
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, USA bagged the gold medal in both the men’s and women’s event. In the men’s competition, USA emerged victorious over Serbia with a 96-66 win while in the women’s competition, USA defeated Spain by a huge margin of 101-72.
Favourites for the 2020 Summer Olympics
Over the years, Team USA have won 28 medals in 30 men's and women's Olympic Games basketball tournaments, the world powerhouse is expected to dominate once again in the Japanese capital this summer. In the final, reigning men's world champions Spain are favorites to meet USA.
The American women are favourites once again heading into Tokyo looking to make it seven consecutive gold medals as we will see more WNBA talent flooding in than ever before.
In international tournaments since 2006, Team USA have been unbeaten. In the Olympics, they hold a 66-3 lifetime record. Their last Olympic defeat was in the hands of the Unified Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics semi-finals while their other two losses came in the inaugural tournament in Montreal.
While in the 3x3 category, Serbia will be the team to beat in the men's competition. Another strong country is Latvia. In the women's event, France are one of the favourites with the top three players in the world with China trailing behind closely.