September 17, 2012

FIBA releases 'Basketball is Everywhere' photo-book (My Mussoorie photo included!)

On 18th June, 1932, a small group of representatives from just eight countries around the world gathered together to create FIBA, the International Basketball Federation. Over the course of the next 80 years, this federation grew from its measly birth of eight to bringing together 213 basketball federations from all across the world, from Afghanistan to the Marshall Islands, from India to the USA. In the process, the game of basketball developed into one of the world's favourite sports, courts sprung up in every nook and cranny that could fit a rim and some dribbling space across the planet, millions of balls dribbled across the globe, and the game's best players became global celebrities.

In short, basketball was everywhere.

To celebrate the growth of the game on their 80th anniversary this year, FIBA held the 'Basketball is Everywhere' photo contest, urging fans around the world to send their best hoops-related photographs. In three months, 1066 photographers from 104 different countries sent a total of 1174 photos to the website 80years.fiba.com These pictures portrayed all sides of the wonder game of basketball - an NBA court in the USA, a crowd of people throwing up basketballs in Lithuania, a elderly man gathering basketballs in the Philippines, a desert basketball game in Mongolia, a French international basketball star ready to check into an international game, a snowed-in outdoor court in Finland... and many, many more.

FIBA held an online poll to determine the favourite photographs from their fans, and had their own judges weigh in to hand out the top rewards. The winners were announced on June 18th, exactly on FIBA's 80th birthday. The winner - Geronimo Abachian of Argentina - won the right to attend the Men's and Women's basketball finals at the Olympic Games in London. Photographs from the Philippines and the United States won the second and third prizes respectively.

And as for yours truly - Karan Madhok - I also took part in the competition, submitting a photograph I took two years ago of a basketball court in the city of Mussoorie in India. I grew up studying in Mussoorie for several years and worked there too, so the little town that sits up in the mountainous Himalayas has always been special to me. My photograph of this court won be a special prize from FIBA, and I was awarded a commemorative limited edition watch! FIBA also sent me a special souvenir photo-book of the 80 best photographs from the contest. My photograph of the court in Mussoorie was included, and it was also sent as a poster with the book!

It's been a pleasure flipping through the pages of this photo-book, which shows basketball in all forms, shapes, and sizes, all around the world. I think it has only re-affirmed my love for the game. I have included some of those photos in this article, but I highly recommend that you try and browse through more of these photos on FIBA's 80 years website.

Interestingly, India's sports-writing website SportsKeeda.com has used its own vehicle to reach out to basketball fans recently in a similar way. SportsKeeda facebook page for Indian basketball - Basketball India - has also put together an incredible collection of photographs of basketball courts from across the country, photos snapped and sent by their fans. Take a look at their photo gallery too to see some great Indian hoops pics.

Inspired yet? Go out and take some basketball pics of your own court. More importantly, trash that camera and just go out and play basketball!

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