Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Date Started: July 30, 1948
Date Finished: August 13, 1948
Format: Round-robin pools followed by single-elimination classification tournaments for places.
There were still no World Championships, and with World War II intervening, there had been very little international competition since the 1936 Olympics. Czechoslovakia had won the 1946 European Championships. South American Championships had continued during the war, with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay splitting several titles. The 1947 European Champion had been the Soviet Union, but they did not participate in the 1948 Olympics, so by default, the Americans were still considered the heavy favorites.
The bulk of the United States came from the [University of Kentucky], which won the NCAA Championship in 1948, and would repeat in 1949. Players from several club teams that had competed in a US Trials were also chosen to make up the final US Olympic basketball team. Among these was Don Barksdale, the first black man to compete in Olympic basketball. Barksdale had previously been an AAU champion in the triple jump in 1944, and played club ball for the [Oakland Bittners].
In the preliminary rounds, the US had its first close game in Olympic competition, narrowly defeating Argentina 59-57. But once thru to the classification matches, they were unmatched, winning the final over France, 65-21.
After the Olympics, several of the Kentucky Olympic basketball players, among them Alex Groza and Ralph Beard, formed a new team in the NBA, the Indianapolis Olympians, which played in the league from 1949-1953.