Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Date Started: July 29, 1984
Date Finished: August 10, 1984
Participants: 213 (142 men and 71 women) from 13 countries
Youngest Participant: Zheng Haixia (17 years, 143 days)
Oldest Participant: Dino Meneghin (34 years, 193 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 71 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): United States (2 medals)
The 1984 Olympic basketball tournaments were held at the Los Angeles Forum, famous as the long-time home of the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. The Forum, as it was later called (it has had various names), was built in 1967 and is still in use, now primarily as an entertainment and concert venue.
There were again 12 teams in the men’s tournament. The absence of the Soviet Union weakened the field, but Yugoslavia was still present in Los Angeles. Except for the Soviets, the Eastern Bloc boycott had little effect on the tournament. Defending champion Yugoslavia, 1980 runner-up Italy, and host United States were automatically eligible. The other qualifying tournaments were as follows – European Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Spain, France, West Germany); Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Brazil, Uruguay, Canada); and the 1983 Oceanian, Asian, and African Champions (Australia, China, Egypt, respectively).
The 12 teams were separated into two six-team groups, which played a round-robin tournament. New in 1984 was that the knock-out phase now included quarter-finals, as the top four teams in each group qualified for the quarters. The United States had won of the strongest amateur teams ever assembled, which included Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, and they won the tournament easily, defeating Spain in the final game by 31 points. It is highly unlikely the Soviet Union would have changed the outcome, given the strength of the US team.
The women’s format was the same as in 1980 with six teams playing a round-robin and the top two teams in the field playing a final match for the gold medal, while the 3rd- and 4th-place teams played for the bronze medal. The United States was eligible as the host nation, as were the Soviet Union as the 1983 World Champion, but they did not compete. The other spots came from the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, and were awarded to China, Yugoslavia, Canada, Korea, and Australia. Australia was the replacement team for the Soviets.
The United States women also won the gold medal, going undefeated, and crushing Korea, 85-55, in the final match. China won the bronze medal with a 63-57 victory over Canada.