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Basketball History

Australia's Lauren Jackson will spearhead the Opals bid for glory at Melbourne 2006.

Australia's Lauren Jackson will spearhead the Opals bid for glory at Melbourne 2006. 

Melbourne 2006 will be the inaugural appearance of basketball at the Commonwealth Games, with both a Men's and Women's competition featured.

A Federation International de Basketball (FIBA) sub-committee selected the highest-ranked teams from each zone to make up eight teams in each the Men's and Women's draws.

At Melbourne 2006

Two pools of four play each other in a round robin series with by the top two from each pool progressing to the semi-finals. The two semi-final winners play for gold while the two losers play for bronze.

Regional venues have never hosted international basketball before and the qualifying games will be held at the Ballarat Minerdome (BBA), Bendigo Stadium (BBO), Traralgon Sports Stadium (BTR) and Geelong Arena (BGE). The finals will be held at the Melbourne Park Multi Purpose Venue (MPV).

In the Men's competition, New Zealand, South Africa, Barbados and England will compete in one pool, Scotland, Australia, India and Nigeria in the other.

The Women's competition will see Mozambique, England, Australia and India fight it out in one pool and Malaysia, Nigeria, New Zealand and Malta in the other.

Basketball History

Dr James Naismith, a Canadian invented the game in 1891 with 13 rules, teams of nine and two peach baskets for goals.

In the first women's game in 1892, there were also nine players, more than one bounce was illegal and women guarded the doors to prevent men from watching.

Much has changed from those humble origins and basketball is now a truly global game with 212 countries forming FIBA.

Basketball has been on the Olympic schedule since 1936 for men and 1976 for women with FIBA originating World Championships in 1950, and 1952 for both genders.

In 1989 FIBA removed the distinction between amateur and professional athletes, permitting an international competition where the best can participate.

Long believed untouchable in basketball, the United States has been shown to be fallible and won only bronze in Athens. Argentina took gold in that competition and the USA won a close final over Australia in the women.

According to FIBA, more adults play basketball than any other sport and at last count, in 1998, there were more then 450 million players worldwide.

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