basketball is one of the most popular sports with the young generation in
Romania. Invented as a sport in 1891 in the USA, it took nearly 30 years for
basketball to reach Romania. The first demonstrative matches were played in
1920. The balls and the backboards were provided by the US Army which, after
its victory in the First World War, left behind all the sports gear which
soldiers used for R&R.
According to the
webpage of the Romanian Basketball Federation, the first regulation was
published on December 4, 1921 in an issue of the "Sports Echo" (Ecoul sportiv)
daily newspaper, in an article called "Ball in the basket". The first
standardized basketball court was set up in Bucharest at Mihai Viteazu high
school in 1922. The first official match was hosted the very same year, when
the Mihai Viteazu team won 11-9 against the students from Dimitrie Cantemir.
1929 saw the first domestic championship, with the participation of 5 teams from
Bucharest: the Romanian Tennis Club, PTT, YMCA, Viforul Dacia and the Romanian
Rugby Club. In the final, Tennis Club defeated YMCA 38-32. 1931 marked a
milestone for Romanian basketball, when the Romanian Basketball and Volleyball
Federation was founded, with Constantin Marinescu at its helm. In 1932 the
Federation became an affiliate of the International Basketball Federation.
After the Second
World War, Romanian basketball gained in popularity. The first notable results
in international competitions followed, especially in women's competitions,
with Romania's national team coming very close to stepping onto the podium at
the European Championships of 1962, 1964 and 1966. Before the 1989 revolution,
the women's domestic championship saw university team battling over the trophy.
Stiinta Bucharest and Universitatea Cluj, for instance, each won 11 titles. On
the other hand, Bucharest rivals Steaua and Dinamo dominated the men's
competition, winning 21 and 18 trophies each, respectively. The supremacy of
teams from Bucharest would eventually end after 1991.
The first trophy
in European inter-club competitions was won by CSU Asesoft Poiesti. In 2005,
the team won the FIBA Europe Cup after defeating Lokomotiv Moscow 75-74 in the
finals. A number of players also compelled recognition in foreign
championships. Alin Savu is the only Romanian player to have been drafted two
times into Europe's team, in 1967 and 1968. Another player, Ghita Muresan, made
history in the NBA, where he enjoyed a seven-year-long career.