The history of Dutch basketball goes back to the year 1947, when the Netherlands Basketball Federation (Nederlandse Basketball Bond/NBB) was founded, coincidentally the same year that the first basketball player with Dutch blood in his veins made his way to professional basketball in the USA. His name was Hank Beenders and he played in the Basketball Association of America (what would later become the NBA) for Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston.
Other Dutch players who made it to the NBA are Swen Nater, Rik Smits, Geert Hammink, Francisco Elson and Dan Gadzuric. Smits appeared in the NBA Finals in 2000 with the Indiana Pacers and Elson was the first Dutch-born player to win the NBA title. He achieved it in 2007 with the San Antonio Spurs, sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals. Nater was a double NCAA champion with UCLA (1972 and 1973), before going pro.
There are also a couple of Dutch women who played professionally in the WNBA. The first one, Sandra van Embricqs was a member of the Los Angeles Sparks in the 1998/1999 season. Marlous Nieuwveen had a short stint with the Sparks as well, in 2005.
|Francisco Elson suited up for the Netherlands once more this summer, playing in the Qualification Round for EuroBasket 2013. Up to date he is the first and only Dutch-born player to have won the NBA Championship.|
In international competition, the Dutch men's national team competed at the World Championship once. In 1986 the Orange squad, led by the 'Dunking Dutchman' Rik Smits, finished 14th in a field of 24 countries. The team proved to be more successful on European stage. The fourth place at the European Championship in 1983 is the best result ever by a Dutch men's national team. Head coach Vladimir Heger saw players like Dan Cramer, Mitchell Plaat, Randy Wiel and Al Faber surprise Israel, Poland and West Germany, before losing to the Soviet Union in the bronze medal game. In total, the Netherlands competed fourteen times at a EuroBasket, the last time being in 1989.
In European club competitions, the year 1979 was the most successful for the Netherlands. EBBC, based in Den Bosch, made it to the Final of the European Cup Winner's Cup by beating Bologna in the Semi-Final after overtime, 115-102, a historic performance by a Dutch club. Injuries to sharpshooters Kees Akerboom and Dan Cremer prevented EBBC from taking the crown on 21 March that year, as Gabetti Cantu won the Final 83-73.
The Dutch women's national team was a participant at the EuroBasket Women sixteen times, with the fifth place in 1966 being the best result in history. The last time the Orange ladies played at a EuroBasket Women was in 1989, but things have changed rapidly since. 2009 was a turning point for Dutch women's basketball, as the senior women's team gained promotion to Division A. Since then a lot is invested in the development of talent by creating 'CTO Amsterdam Vrouwenbasketball', a programme that produces talented players on a regular basis, who easily find their way to the national youth teams and European clubs.
|The Netherlands downed Turkey after double overtime in the Quarter-Finals of this year's U18 European Championship Women to reach their first ever Semi-Final in this age category.|
This year the Dutch U20 and U18 women's teams both finished fourth at the respective European Championship, a historic achievement, while the U17 squad stunned the international basketball world with an eighth place at the U17 World Championship for Women in Amsterdam. The first ever big youth basketball championship held in the Netherlands got a lot of praise form the competing countries, and that inspired the young Dutch players, led by captain Isabella Slim, to beat top countries like Australia and Spain. The main goal now is to qualify for the women's basketball tournament at the Olympics in 2016.
One of the most eye catching moments in the history of Dutch basketball was the gold medal by the Dutch men's wheelchair basketball team at the Paralympics in 1992. Wheelchair basketball always has been a key part of Dutch basketball, in an effort to integrate basketball for disabled people in the Netherlands Basketball Federation. That resulted in the creation of a regional youth competition, with the help of the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the Dutch Olympic Committee. The face of Dutch wheelchair basketball is Gertjan van der Linden, who was chosen by FIBA as the best player of the world in 1991. In the summer of 2012 he coached the national women's wheelchair basketball team to the bronze medal at the Paralympics in London.
In order to spread the word of basketball in the country the Netherlands Basketball Federation started 'Basketball Unites' in 2007. This department aims to get more people involved in the sport by developing projects and products for kids and (young) adults. Peanutbasketball - a form of 3x3 basketball on a half court with two baskets for young kids - for example is designed for schools and nurseries, trying to get the kids interested in basketball. Other successful products and projects are the Basketball'sCool, Dunkers Kids Club, Basketball Race 4 Fun and Be a BasketballSTAR (Sportsmanship, Teamwork, Acceptation and Respect).
|The Netherlands Basketball Federation jumped on the streetball bandwagon in 2009 and made the Streetball Masters Tour an instant success. The Final, held in the city centre of The Hague, draws lots of public.|
One of the most successful Basketball Unites projects is Streetball Masters. This 3x3 basketball tour, played in ten Dutch cities, started in 2009, with the Final traditionally being staged in The Heague. The 2012 edition was a huge success, and saw Utrecht breaking the Dutch record for competing teams: 61 squads. The popularity of 3x3 basketball is growing rapidly and the power of this new type of basketball was recognized in an early stage by the Netherlands Basketball Federation. Robert Rieblinger, Head of the FIBA Europe 3on3 Department, was impressed by Streetball Masters: "It's one of the best tours in Europe. FIBA Europe supports Streetball Masters, because it's open to everybody and has a real grassroots approach."
STATS & FACTS
Date of foundation: 15 July 1947
President: Francisca Ravestein
Secretary General: Jan-Wim Stals
- U18 Men: 17,833
- U18 Women: 7,066
- Senior Men: 17,449
- Senior Women: 6,979
Non-registered players: approximately 35,000
Registered clubs: 395
Registered coaches: 2,500
NATIONAL TEAM ACHIEVEMENTS
1949 European Championship for Men in Cairo (Egypt): 5th place
1966 European Championship for Women in Sibiu, Cluj (Romania): 5th place
1983 European Championship for Men in Limoges, Caen, Nantes (France): 4th place
1984 European Championship for Cadettes in Perugia, Marsciano (Italy): 4th place
2011 U18 European Championship Women in Oradea (Romania): 5th place
2012 U20 European Championship Women in Debrecen (Hungary): 4th place
2012 U18 European Championship Women in Bucharest (Romania): 4th place
1971 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Kerpape (France): 3rd place
1974 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Kerpape (France): 3rd place
1977 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Raalte (Netherlands): 2nd place
1978 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Kerpape (France): 3rd place
1980 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Men in Arnhem (Netherlands): 2nd place
1981 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Geneva (Switzerland): 3rd place
1984 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Men in New York (USA), Stoke Mandeville (Great Britain): 2nd place
1987 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Lorient (France): 2nd place
1987 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Lorient (France): 3rd place
1988 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Men in Seoul (South Korea): 2nd place
1988 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Women in Seoul (South Korea): 3rd place
1989 European Wheelchair Championship for Men n Charleville Mezieres (France): 2nd place
1989 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Charleville Mezieres (France): 1st place
1991 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in El Ferrol (Spain): 2nd place
1991 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in El Ferrol (Spain): 2nd place
1992 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Men in Barcelona (Spain): 1st place
1992 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Women in Barcelona (Spain): 3rd place
1993 European Wheelchair Championships for Men and Women in Berlin (Germany): 1st place
1993 European Wheelchair Championships for Women in Berlin (Germany): 1st place
1995 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Paris (France): 3rd place
1995 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Delden (Netherlands): 1st place
1996 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Women in Atlanta (USA): 2nd place
1997 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Madrid (Spain): 1st place
1999 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Roermond (Netherlands): 3rd place
1999 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Roermond (Netherlands): 1st place
2000 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Men in Sydney (Australia): 2nd place
2001 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Amsterdam (Netherlands): 2nd place
2003 European Wheelchair Championship for Men in Sassari,Porto Torres (Italy): 2nd place
2003 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Hamburg (Germany): 2nd place
2005 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Villeneuve d'Ascq (France): 2nd place
2007 European Wheelchair Championships for Women in Wetzlar (Germany): 2nd place
2009 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Stoke Mandeville (Great Britain): 2nd place
2011 European Wheelchair Championship for Women in Nazareth(Israel): 2nd place
2012 Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball Women in London (Great Britain): 3rd place