Canada Basketball: 90 Years in the Making is a retrospective series that will recognize historic achievements that serve as the foundation of our organization. While dates and facts form content, we aim to provide context and depth through guest submissions from storytellers and basketball historians in our community.
The 90th Anniversary of Canada Basketball is a celebration of the origins of the governing body of the sport in this country. The Canadian Amateur Basketball Association (CABA) was originally formed in Port Arthur, Ontario in 1923. The historical roots of the organization exist now in recollections of tales once-heard and stories of leather balls and peach baskets.
Formal rules existed at the time, but the organization was fairly loose and operated on the strength of volunteers. When FIBA (Federation Internationale de Basketball Amateur) was formed in 1932, it mandated that national federations were to be the only federations to act in jurisdiction with the sport. Renato William Jones, Secretary General of FIBA from 1932 until 1976, helped introduce basketball into the 1936 Berlin Olympics where Canada took home a silver medal.
With no full-time staff employed by CABA, basketball’s governing body in Canada was run off the kitchen tables of volunteers until the Fitness and Amateur Sport Act was approved in Canadian Parliament on September 29, 1961. This act, in conjunction with similar initiatives, created six to eight sport organizations housed in a national sport office in Ottawa beginning in 1971. Harry Franklin was appointed the first executive director and basketball became one of the first sports in Canada to have a governing body with a full-time employee.
In 1973, a vote was held to adopt FIBA’s international rules for national championships, but Basketball Canada had no jurisdiction over colleges and high schools resulting in many keeping the NCAA rules that had become their norm. The change was made with the upcoming 1976 Montreal Olympics in mind. Around this time, the name of the organization changed from CABA to simply Basketball Canada.
CABA was originally organized to assist with national championships, but its function and reach have grown considerably. Beyond men's and women's annual national championships, the organization now oversees the development of men's and women's national teams, technical development with coaching, official and player certification, youth programs, a Hall of Fame, educational services, and promotion and revenue generation. The organization has seen a great deal of evolution and change over the course of the past nine decades.
Canada Basketball continues to build towards the future and assist an influx of new and exciting talent to reach their immense potential. With a new brand and a new logo since 1999, our goals remain the same: to achieve consistent success on an international level and to continue the growth and development of the sport on Canadian soil.
Regular stories will appear on the series archive, and we’d also like to reach out to those who have been involved in the Canadian basketball community over the years. If you’ve got a story to share, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to add your story and help grow the Canadian basketball community.