You Are Here > > > > > Men's Basketball

Basketball at the 1948 London Summer Games:

Men's Basketball

Basketball at the 1948 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games


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.

Gold: USA United States
Silver: FRA France
Bronze: BRA Brazil


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.

Final Standings

Rank Team NOC Medal
1 United States USA Gold
2 France FRA Silver
3 Brazil BRA Bronze
4 Mexico MEX
5 Uruguay URU
6 Chile CHI
7 Czechoslovakia TCH
8 South Korea KOR
9 Canada CAN
10 Peru PER
11 Belgium BEL
12 Philippines PHI
13 Cuba CUB
14 Iran IRI
15 Argentina ARG
16 Hungary HUN
17 Italy ITA
18 China CHN
19 Egypt EGY
20 Great Britain GBR
21 Switzerland SUI
22 Iraq IRQ
23 Ireland IRL