World Basketball Day: Celebrating the 'unifying force' of the world's greatest sport

It is World Basketball Day! Basketball made history earlier this year with 21 December declared as the official celebration of the sport. 

A resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly saw basketball become the first team sport to have its own day observed by the UN, a mark of the game’s global significance and ability to unite people around the world.  

A UN statement in August said: “Basketball, as a globally recognised sport, serves as a unifying force through which people from different backgrounds can come together, creating connections and breaking down barriers, and thereby contribute to peace.  


"The Assembly would invite all Member States, organisations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organisations, the private sector and civil society, individuals and other relevant stakeholders to observe the Day in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national priorities, and to disseminate the advantages of basketball for all, including through educational and public awareness-raising activities.” 

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said: "We are tremendously proud of the establishment of World Basketball Day and very grateful to the UN and other partner organizations who continue to recognize the positive role that basketball plays for millions of different people living around the globe. 

"The fact that basketball is the first team sport to receive such recognition is a clear demonstration and endorsement of the vast societal benefits it delivers, as well as the unlimited potential that exists in utilizing Basketball For Good."

The concept for World Basketball Day was created by NYU Professor David Hollander in his recent book ‘How Basketball Can Save the World’. In the book, Hollander argues basketball can be a force to promote peace, understanding and cooperation. 

Hollander's course at NYU - ’How Basketball Can Save The World: An Exploration of Society, Politics, Culture and Commerce Through the Game’ - explores the sport's impact on global, social, cultural, political and commercial issues, with the university saying: “The course will examine basketball's influence and leadership on race, gender, and sexuality. Students will also see how basketball has served as a signpost for transformative trends in commerce and culture through areas like Hip-Hop music, fashion, sneakers, social media, and global iconoclasm (eg. Michael Jordan, Yao Ming.). Students will also learn about basketball's role in struggles for national identity (eg. Lithuania, Israel, the former Yugoslavia). Finally, the course will understand the global popularity of basketball and its role as a 21st-century platform for diplomacy and peace (eg. Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un, US and China).” 

How will you be celebrating?