World Basketball Day Date in the current year: December 21, 2024

World Basketball Day World Basketball Day is a United Nations observance held annually on December 21. It was crated to commemorate the day when the first ever game of basketball was played and highlight the contribution of sport in general and basketball in particular to sustainable development.

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams compete with the primary objective of shooting a ball through the opposing team’s hoop while defending their own hoop from the opposing team. It is usually played on a rectangular court, and each basketball team typically consists of five players.

The game of basketball was invented by Canadian-American educator, physician, sports coach, and Christian chaplain James Naismith while working at YMCA International Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. When tasked with creating an indoor sports game that would keep athletes in shape and prevent them from getting bored in winter, he came up with the idea of nailing fruit baskets to the gym balcony and having players throw a soccer-style ball into the baskets.

On December 21, 1891, Naismith published thirteen rules for the new game and asked his class of 18 students to play it, 9 versus 9. After a while, he removed the bottoms of the baskets so that players wouldn’t have to halt the game to retrieve the ball every time the point was scored. The first public game of basketball was played on March 11, 1892. The new sport had spread to colleges across the United States by 1900 and made its way to Europe within the next few years.

Basketball has come a long way since its inception. According to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the governing body of basketball, the sport is played by at least 450 million people worldwide today. Basketball enjoys strong presence in many parts of the world, especially in the United States, and has been a part of the Olympic program since its introduction at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin (although women’s basketball made its Olympic debut forty years later at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal).

The United Nations General Assembly designated December 21 as World Basketball Day by its resolution adopted on August 25, 2023. According to the resolution, sport makes important contributions to sustainable development, international cooperation, tolerance and mutual understanding, and the empowerment of youth, women, girls and persons with disabilities. Basketball in particular is one of the world’s most widely played sports that brings people from different backgrounds together and breaks down barriers.

World Basketball Day events are held by stakeholders around the world. They include charity matches, exhibition games, demonstrations, masterclasses, and other events and activities that raise awareness of basketball as a game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels and thus plats an important role in promoting peace and development, respect for gender equality, and the power of teamwork for mutual understanding.

Remind me with Google Calendar


UN Observances


World Basketball Day, international observances, UN observances, basketball, James Naismith