On April 7th in 1989, FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, voted to drop restrictions on the participation of professional basketball players in international events such as the Olympics.
This was a landmark event not just for the Olympics or the United States, but for basketball in general.
With FIBA Congress dropped the word "Amateur" from its name, in 1989, the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Amateur became the Fédération Internationale de Basketball.
In the following Olympics in 1992, in Barcelona, Spain, the USA for the first time ever sent a 12-man squad filled with 11 professional athletes. That squad, termed the 'Dream Team', headlined by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, went undefeated at the Olympics and won the gold medal in Barcelona.
The success of that squad played a key role in the globalization of the game.
It has been well-documented how future European basketball superstars like Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tony Parker were inspired by this elite collection of talent.
The 'Dream Team' was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017.
Other notable events on April 7th
- In Game 3 of the 1959 Finals against the Minneapolis Lakers, Bob Cousy dished out 19 assists, tying a then NBA playoff record. He also scored 23 points as the Celtics eventually clinched the title by sweeping the Minneapolis Lakers in four games. This was the second title of the Celtics dynasty in the 1960s that won 11 titles in 13 years.
- In 1977, Don Buse, of the Indiana Pacers, led the NBA in both assists and steals with averages of 8.5 and 3.47. Thus, duplicating his feat from the previous season where he led the ABA in assists (8.2) and steals (4.1).
- In 1989, John Stockton, en route to picking up his second straight assist title with 1,118, became the first player in NBA history to record consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 assists. He stretched this 1,000 assist streak to five (1998-1992) and over an eight-year stretch from 1987 to 1995, he would record seven seasons with at least 1,000 assists.
- In 1998, Karl Malone went off for an NBA season-high 56 points (18-29 FG; 19-23 FT) in 101-99 win against the Golden State Warriors.
- In 2001, the Houston Rockets, by defeating the Atlanta Hawks 110-97, became the first team in 18 years to sweep an entire division as they won all their 16 games against the Central Division. The previous team to do so were the 1982-83 Los Angeles Lakers when they swept their 12 games against the Central Division.
- In 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 51 points in a 107-96 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
- In 2019, the Houston Rockets, in a 147-119 win over the Phoenix Suns, connected on an NBA record 27 three-pointers. This game came five days after the team had tied the previous record mark of 26. After this game, on the all-time charts for most 3-pointers in a game, the Rockets held the top three single spots and four in the top 10.
Game-winning buzzer-beaters on April 7th
John Paxson vs. Dallas Mavericks in 1990
Foots Walker vs. Atlanta Hawks in 1970
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