The United States joined the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as a member in 1934 and it was the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) that FIBA first recognized as the organization that was responsible for USA teams in international competitions.
Until 1974 when the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States of America (ABAUSA) which later became USA Basketball was formed, various basketball organizations within the U.S. wrestled for control and recognition from FIBA and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
A struggle for control of the USA's international teams developed in the 1960s between the AAU and other U.S. basketball organizations.
It was in the early 1960s that an organization known as the Basketball Federation of the USA (BFUSA) was organized and began its push to be recognized by FIBA.
Consisting of representatives from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations (NFSHSAA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), BFUSA continued to push for recognition and support in its effort to replace the AAU as the FIBA recognized basketball federation in the United States.
Just prior to the 1972 Olympics, FIBA revoked its recognition of the AAU, and, rather than recognize BFUSA, instructed the United States to form a new organization containing representation from all U.S. basketball organizations.
So in 1974 ABAUSA was formed and officially recognized by FIBA and by the U.S. Olympic Committee. ABAUSA at that time consisted of representatives from the AAU, Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), Collegiate Commissioners Association, Junior Pro Basketball Association, Inc., National Amateur Basketball Association, NABC, NAIA, NCAA, NFSHSAA, National Jewish Welfare Board, NJCAA, Women's Basketball Association of America, Inc., and the YMCA.
On January 1, 1975, ABAUSA officially took control with its offices located in Jacksonville, Ill., and William Wall serving as its executive director.
The Amateur Sports Act of 1978 changed the dimension and importance of all U.S. National Governing Bodies, and in January 1979 ABAUSA relocated to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
ABAUSA changed its name to USA Basketball on October 12, 1989, shortly after FIBA modified its rules to allow professional basketball players to participate in international competitions. USA Basketball then admitted the National Basketball Association (NBA) as an active member and made the name change.
U.S. Men's Olympic Team Selection Process Through the years, the group responsible for the selection of the U.S. Olympic basketball teams has changed, as has the process for selecting the teams.
Although the AAU established a Basketball Committee, beginning with the 1936 Olympics, the first Olympic Games to feature men's basketball as an official medal sport, the selection of the USA Olympic teams and coaching staffs was handled by the U.S. Olympic Basketball Games Committee (originally known as the American Olympic Committee Basketball Committee).
The 1936 Olympic Basketball Games Committee originally consisted of six representatives of the AAU, four representatives from the NCAA, and three other representatives, two of which were appointed by the American Olympic Committee.
The 1948 Olympic team was still selected by the 13-member U.S. Olympic Basketball Games Committee, however, eight teams participated in the Olympic Trials -- three AAU teams, two NCAA teams, and one team from the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) and YMCA.
Selection for the '52 Olympic basketball team was handled by a 14-member Olympic Basketball Games Committee. The Olympic Trials again featured eight teams in a playoff -- the NCAA Tournament winner and runner-up, the National Invitational Tournament winner, the NAIB Tournament winner and the top four finishers from the AAU National Tournament (Junior College, U.S. Armed Forces and YMCA teams were eligible to compete in the AAU championship).
By the 1956 Olympics, the Basketball Games Committee had been restructured so the AAU and NCAA each had six representatives and the U.S. Armed Forces four. And for the first time the Olympic Trials consisted of four teams -- the AAU Tournament champion and runner-up, a college all-star squad and an Armed Forces all-star team.
In 1960, the Games Committee selected from eight teams -- three AAU squads, the NCAA champion, a NCAA university all-star team, a NCAA college all-star team, an Armed Forces all-star team, and a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) all-star team.
The 1964 U.S. Olympic Basketball Games Committee consisted of eight AAU representatives, eight NCAA representatives and four U.S. Armed Forces representatives. This committee selected the 1964 Olympic team from a trials which consisted of three NCAA all-star teams, two AAU all-star squads, and one NAIA all-star team.
By 1968, the Olympic Trials consisted of three NCAA all-star teams, one NCAA college all-star team, and separate all-star squads representing the AAU, NJCAA, NAIA, and U.S. Armed Forces.
In 1972, the Olympic Trials were still controlled by the Olympic Basketball Games Committee, however, the Trials format was changed and 66 athletes were invited to tryout, 28 from the NCAA, eight from the AAU, junior college, NAIA and U.S. Armed Forces ranks, and six at-large.
In 1976, the Olympic Basketball Games Committee established a 12-man selection committee and 56 players, primarily from the NCAA, competed in the Trials.
In 1980, for the first time, the USA Men's Olympic Team was selected by the ABAUSA Men's Games Committee following Trials at the University of Kentucky. The 22-member Committee was chaired by then Big Eight Conference commissioner Charles Neinas.
The 1984 Olympic Trials, held April 17-22 at Indiana University, consisted of 72 college players. Brice Durbin was chair of the ABAUSA Player Selection Committee Games Committee, while David Gavitt (NCAA) was chair of the Player Selection Committee which included four NCAA representatives, two at-large representatives, and one representative from the NFSHSA.
In 1988, 92 college players attended the May 18-24 Trials in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Big East Conference Commissioner David Gavitt was chair of the Games Committee for Men, while the ABAUSA Player Selection Subcommittee was chaired by C.M. Newton (At-Large) and included three representatives from the NCAA, one from the NAIA and one at-large representative.
In 1992, for the first time no actual Olympic Trials were held for the men. Instead, because NBA players were now eligible to play, USA Basketball's 12-member Men's Olympic Team Subset Committee, chaired by C.M. Newton, reviewed player performances from the 1990-91 and 1991-92 basketball seasons. The '92 committee consisted of five NBA representatives, four NCAA reps and two at-large reps.
Selection for the 1996 men's Olympic team was similar to 1992, with the players' performances in the preceding seasons used as the trials process. The men's squad was selected by USA Basketball's 11-member Senior National Team Committee, which was chaired by Rod Thorn of the NBA and also consisted of seven NBA representatives, two athlete reps and one NCAA representative.
The 2000 men's team was again comprised of NBA players and selected by USA Basketball's 11-member Senior National Team Committee, chaired by Thorn. However, because the United States had to finish in one of the top two spots at the 1999 Tournament of Americas in order to qualify for the Olympic Games, player performances from the 1998-99 season were reviewed by the Committee for selection to the 1999 and, subsequently, the 2000 teams. The first nine NBA players named to the 1999 Tournament of Americas squad, which was rounded out with three recent collegiate graduates, were then selected to the 2000 team. Due to injuries, only seven of those nine competed in Sydney, while the remaining five selections were made based on the 1999-2000 NBA season.
The selection of the 2004 U.S. Men's Olympic teams was again similar to 1992, 1996 and 2000, with the players' performances in the preceding NBA season used as the trials process. The Senior National Team Committee that chose the 2004 U.S. Team was chaired by Stu Jackson of the NBA and consisted of nine voting members, seven appointed by the NBA and two athlete representatives. As they did in 1999, the United States had to qualify for the 2004 Olympics by finishing in one of the top three spots at the 2003 Tournament of Americas. Player performances from the 2002-03 NBA season were reviewed by the Committee for players were selected to the 2003 and, subsequently, the 2004 teams. The first nine NBA players named to the 2003 USA Olympic Qualifying Team core group were also promised a roster position if the USA qualified for the 2004 Olympics. The 2003 Olympic Qualifying Team won gold and qualified the U.S. for the 2004 Summer Games, however, because of injuries and other issues, just two of the original nine selected core group players competed in Athens. The 10 player selections made to complete the roster were made in the Spring of 2004 and were based on player performances during the 2003-04 NBA season.
Without a gold medal finish in a major international competition since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, USA Basketball in 2005 set off in a totally new direction with its men’s senior national team. Setting aside the old committee system used for selecting its senior teams, respected former Phoenix Suns chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo was selected to serve in the newly created position of managing director of the USA Men’s Senior National Team Program for 2005‑2008. Building a national team program that ultimately consisted of 33 of this country’s best players, Mike Krzyzewski was named head coach, and some of the very best coaches from the NBA and NCAA, Colangelo and USA Basketball proceeded to create a true senior national team program that represented the U.S. at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and won bronze, then won gold at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, and recaptured gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Colangelo returned to serve as managing director and was also chairman of USA Basketball for the 2009-12 quad. He again selected Krzyzewski to lead the program. The 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 U.S. Olympic Teams were chosen from players who had been selected members of the 2009-12 USA Basketball Men’s National Team program. The USA captured top honors with perfect records at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 London Olympics.
The 2013-16 quadrennium started off with the USA men continuing their winning ways. Selecting a 2014 USA World Cup Team from the 2014-16 USA National Team pool, which included two members of the 2012 Olympic Team, the USA won gold at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, marking the first time the United States had won back-to-back world championship titles. The quadrennium concluded with Colangelo and Krzyzewski leading the USA to an 8-0 record and gold medal finish at the 2016 Rio Olympic Game.
The USA's dominance continued as head coach Geno Auriemma directed the USA team to a perfect 9-0 record and gold at the 2010 FIBA Wortld Championship, then two years later, led the U.S. to a record fifth-straight Olympic title at the 2012 London Games, compiling an 8-0 record to extend the USA Olympic win-streak to 41 games. Player and coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee, which was comprised of WNBA representatives Reneé Brown, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations; Dan Hughes, head coach/General Manager of the San Antonio Silver Stars; and Chief Operating Officer/General Manager of the Indiana Fever Kelly Krauskopf; athlete representative and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards; and USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director Carol Callan.Members of the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 U.S. Olympic teams were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. The committee was comprised of WNBA representatives Reneé Brown, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations; Dan Hughes, head coach/General Manager of the San Antonio Silver Stars; and Chief Operating Officer/General Manager of the Indiana Fever Kelly Krauskopf; athlete representative and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards; and USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director Carol Callan. The first 11 members of the 2012 Olympic squad were announced on March 30, and the 12th member was announced on April 23.