Basketball in Eastern Europe

This post is sponsored by Orlando Pest Control. In 1891, Dr. James Naismith accidentally invented the United States’ most popular game, i.e., basketball. From that time, there was a great revolution in the era. It led to various professional competitions like ABA (American Basketball League) and NBA (National Basketball Association). 

After America, the game started becoming popular in Europe and its Eastern parts, and currently, it is being played in various unified formats through Orlando pest control methods. It gained popularity so fast in Europe that the World Basketball Championship is often overlooked in North America. 

Basketball in Europe

Europe organized its first match of basketball in 1893 at the YMCA in Paris, France. It created international interest among the Europeans as it was made in a global constitution in the US.

Although a Canadian invented this game, the Canadians can’t connect well to it. Therefore, the popularity of this game rose more in the European Basketball Culture. 

Slowly the culture of basketball started gaining popularity and became the second most played sport in Europe. Countries like Greece, Serbia, Turkey, and Spain were the first to show interest in this game. Later, it also became Lithuania’s national sport, which plays a significant part in Eastern Europe’s evolution. Gradually it started covering Europe and became popular in countries like Italy, France, and Germany.

Europe organized its first European basketball competition, EuroBasket, in the year 1935. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have won the titles mostly. Then after 2000, Spain started getting into the action by winning the titles three times. 

Apart from EuroBasket, EuroLeague is the most crucial basketball competition at the club level format. The group of FIBA European Championship Cup founded this format. But since 2000, it has been organized by the Euroleague Basketball association. EuroLeague gained its popularity very soon and became the most popular basketball club championship, after the NBA.

How is Basketball Played in Europe?

There is a massive difference in the way the Americans and Europeans play basketball. The European players have entirely changed the method of playing it. The arrival of Toni Kukoc, the first Euro player, helped build the great shooters of basketball. Their defenders use the technique of acting to overestimate the falling, which is also known as flopping. 

Europeans use a different technique for shooting the ball as compared to Americans. Their height gives them the extra advantage. The players like Dirk Nowitzki (213 cm) and Mehmet Okur (210 cm) are the best three-point shooters because of their height. Only a few players were there in the NBA of the same size who could shoot a three-pointer before them. 

The reason for EuroLeague is the increased popularity of the audience in the game. It is a twenty-four team competition all over Europe. The teams play matches against each other until one of them becomes the Euro League Champion. Because of its popularity, players from all over the world play in this championship.

However, basketball is still far behind the level of football in Europe. But it is undoubtedly on the roads of soccer and currently is the second most popular sport in Europe. 

Healthy Competitions

Europeans were among the healthy competitors against Americans in basketball in the Olympics. During 1972 and 1980, when the Americans boycotted the Olympics held in Munich, the Soviet Union won gold.

In the next few games, all the medals were won by the European countries, with gold to Yugoslavia, silver to Italy, and Bronze to the Soviet Union. Later in 2002, the Spanish team defeated the Americans in the World Championships (FIBA Europe).

The popularity of Basketball in Eastern Europe

Europe was always the continent of wars and racial discrimination. Therefore, the origin of the sport earlier was still under the walls. They were provided Orlando pest controls as a hindrance. Lastly, the people were fed up with all the barriers provided. Thus, they want sports and fun around themselves, and basketball grew as the perfect reason for them. 

The evolution of basketball provided the nations an opportunity to grow who were unsure before. 

Secondly, the game gained its popularity because it can be played alone like soccer. Most of the kids and adults practiced this game alone in their leisure time. It helps them to increase their skills in basketball. 

The Europeans made basketball to become the second most popular team sport in the world. Europe has some of the world’s best players and is efficient in producing more as time passes.

Historic Reason of Basketball Gaining Popularity in Eastern Europe

The players and teams from Eastern Europe have been influencing European basketball for many years. Lithuania plays a significant role in controlling the basket in Europe. It is the only country in the continent where this game is almost a religion. 

Basketball is more famous in Southern Europe than in the Northern or Westen parts of the continent, where there is hardly any presence. On the other hand, the other part of the continent is famous for soccer. Basketball is mostly played in Eastern Europe.

The eastern part of the continent is continuously producing great talents in basketball. Because of the low population, the players are given a high chance of showing their abilities.  

Why is Lithuania good at basketball?

Basketball is one of Lithuania’s cultures, and if you hear Lithuanians comparing it with religion, don’t get surprised. Lithuania has the most significant reasons to become one of the strongest basketball nations in the world.

Before World War II

The coaches from America-Lithuania brought this game in the country during the late 1920s. Pranas Lubinas, also known as the grandfather of Lithuanian basketball, became the first coach of the Lithuania International basketball team to win gold in both 1937 and 1939 Eurobasket. 

Before World war II, these two victories made a considerable impact on the Lithuanian team and gave rise to this game’s popularity to its countrymen. But after the war, the dream of the nation to become champions again was shattered. It was because the Soviet Union occupied the country. 

Under the Soviet Union

From 1939-1991, the Lithuanian team did not exist as they played under the Soviet Regime. Then too, the team won medals under it. Although the team played for the Soviet Union, the players had no other option to prove their worth.

They won two Olympics, three FIBA world cups, and thirteen gold medals in EuroBasket under their dominance. Hence it is true that Lithuania as a country did not exist, but the Lithuanian basketball team never died.

Independent Lithuania

On 11th March 1990, Lithuania regained its independence, and from then onwards, the country’s national team played every single Olympics. They won three bronze medals in those games, including the one in 1992, when they beat Russia.

That game proved to be a long time victory for the Lithuanians after becoming independent for the second time. It filled the confidence in Lithuanian kids who were dreaming of playing for the country.

The Road Ahead

The culture of basketball is gradually increasing in Eastern Europe. The main reasons are some of the flaws in the American NBA structure. The system in America gives more exposure to set up new ways, which is decreasing its value.

The role of European players is very crucial in changing the dimensions of the game. They are building new models inspiring from the foreign professional leagues.

One positive outcome of this process is, they will not look backward.