View Full Version : 50 years from ARG Bball suicide

03-15-2007, 05:07 AM
By the mid 50's, Argentinean basketball had proved itself among the best of the world for several years: 1950 World Champions, 1952 Olympic Semifinalists, 1953 World University Champions, and two Buenos Aires clubs (Racing Club and Atlético Palermo) had had amazing success in their respective European tours (for example, Palermo won 16 of 17 games in their journey)

But then, we disappeared from the world elite. We didn't play the Olympics again until 1996. We never reached a world semifinal until 2002. Hey, we even failed to qualify for some World Championships between 1960 and 1986.

So what happened?

In 1955, a military coup knocked long-time president Juan D. Perón off the presidency. Their intention was to remove all influences from Perón in all aspects of Argentinean society.

Perón had rewarded the 1950 champions with a small bonus: a permit that allowed them to buy an import car, which was necessary because Argentina didn't have any car factories back then. The players didn't get cars, just the permit to buy them, which was useless since they couldn't afford them (really few people could). So the players sold those permits to rich families and made a few bucks. That happened with other players from other National Teams between 1950 and 1955.

The military government (and the Basketball Confederation directives they named) then found their scapegoat: basketball players. 35 players from several National Teams, Racing Club and Atlético Palermo were banned for life, accused of "professionalism"; which was prohibited by FIBA laws, but a regular practice around the world.

Imagine the impact of this decision. Take any powerful basketball country, and write down the top 7 players in each position. Now, erase them. They can't play anymore. I doubt there would be any country that could still be part of the elite after that. It took Argentina 45 years to recover from what we did to ourselves.