While the 2014 FIBA World Cup tips off on Saturday, there’s still a lot most people don’t know about this tournament. Compared with the Olympics, it’s a relatively small-scale operation that just doesn’t draw a lot of attention in the United States, although in recent years that has changed some. The stakes are pretty high, as the winner of the tournament earns an automatic spot in the 2016 Olympics, so for all teams involved a trophy will mean they won’t have to use their best players in international competition.
But, like any tournament that is 60-plus years old, the World Cup has a fairly interesting and complex history that lends itself to some strange goings-on. When it started as the FIBA World Championship in 1950, all of the games were played outside. The players were all amateurs, or in one case barely more than a pickup team. Political protests even prevented games from being played.
With many of these facts falling into the “strange but true” category, here are 15 Things You Didn't Know About the FIBA World Cup.
Follow me on Twitter @dcsibor