Men's Basketball has been played consistently at the Summer Olympic Games since 1936, with demonstration events in 1904 and 1924. The United States men's basketball team won all of the gold medals in the men's competition from 1936 to 1968. The Olympics included women starting in 1976. The USA women's national basketball team won the silver medal at the 1976 Olympics, a bronze medal in 1992, and a gold medal at all other competitions.
Winning the Olympics is considered to be the highest honor in international basketball, followed by the World Championships of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for men and women and the respective intercontinental championships.
Thanks in part to the work of Phog Allen (Kansas Jayhawks collegiate coach), the FIBA organized the first Olympic basketball tournament in the 1936 Summer Olympics at Berlin as an outdoor tournament. Dr. Naismith presented the medals to the top three teams. In keeping up with the Olympic tradition, all of the competitors were amateurs, and FIBA introduced the indoor game in the 1948 Summer Olympics. The Americans proved its dominance, winning all of the Olympic tournaments until the 1972 Summer Olympics when the Soviet Union national basketball team won in the gold-medal game in highly controversial circumstances. The Americans refused to receive their silver medals and the IOC still possesses them.
The Americans reclaimed the gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics but with the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott, the Yugoslavia national basketball team became the first team coming outside the USA or the USSR to win the title after beating the Soviets in the semifinals. The Yugoslavs would later lose their gold medal to the Americans in the 1984 Summer Olympics, with the Soviets boycotting. In 1988, with the Americans sending in a young team, the Soviets reclaimed the gold medal, beating the Yugoslavs in the gold medal game.
In 1989, FIBA through the leadership of Borislav Stanković, approved the rule in which NBA players were allowed to compete in international tournaments, including the Olympics. In the next Olympics, the United States debuted their "Dream Team" and won the gold medal without calling a time out. Their new-found dominance ended in 2004 Summer Olympics in which they were beaten in the semifinals by Argentina enroute to their first gold medal. However, in 2008, the United States defeated Spain to reclaim Olympic gold, and their first in any major international tournament since the 2000 Olympics.