Basketball at the 1972 Summer Olympics
|8th Olympic Basketball Tournament|
|Olympics||1972 Summer Olympics|
|Host nation||West Germany|
|Duration||August 27, 1972
September 9, 1972
Basketball contests at the 1972 Summer Olympics took place at Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle in Munich, Germany from August 27 to September 9. The Soviet Union won the gold medal, after a controversial final against the United States. This was the first time the USA did not win a gold medal since the sport's introduction into the Olympics in 1936. The bronze was won by Cuba, the only Olympic medal they have won in basketball.
† – Medals refused by team
Automatic qualifications were granted to the host country and the first four places at the previous tournament. Additional spots were decided by various continental championships held by FIBA plus an additional intercontinental championship that granted two extra berths.
|Australia|| United States – Gold medal in 1968
SFR Yugoslavia – Silver medal in 1968
Soviet Union – Bronze medal in 1968
Brazil – 4th place in 1968
West Germany – Olympic hosts
- Two groups of eight teams are formed, where the top two from each group compete for the medals in a knockout round.
- The remaining places are defined as follows:
- Fifth through eighth places are decided in a separate bracket between the third and fourth places from each group in a separate bracket.
- Ninth through sixteenth places are decided between the fifth through eighth places from each group in separate brackets.
- Head to head results
- Goal average (not the goal difference) between the tied teams
The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals, while the remaining teams compete for 5th through 16th places in separate brackets.
|Qualified for the semifinals|
|Qualified for the semifinals|
|Team||W||L||PF||PA||PD||Pts||1st Tie||2nd Tie|
|Semifinals (September 7)||Gold medal (September 9)|
|A2||Cuba||61||Bronze medal (September 8)|
|Semifinals (September 7)||5th place (September 9)|
|A4||Czechoslovakia||63||7th place (September 8)|
|Semifinals (September 5)||9th place (September 9)|
|A6||Australia||70||11th place (September 8)|
|Semifinals (September 5)||13th place (September 7)|
- a Forfeited match.
The 1972 Olympic men's basketball final was one of the most controversial in Olympic history. Despite trailing by one point with only three seconds remaining in the contest, the Soviets managed to inbound the ball from their own end line and score the game-winning basket at the final buzzer. Despite the objections of the United States team, various officiating errors led to the Soviet inbounds play being initiated three different times before finally resulting in the winning basket. The Americans protested the outcome, but the result stood and marked the first ever loss for Team USA since the sport began Olympic play in 1936.
|Soviet Union||51–50||United States|
|Scoring by half: 26–21, 25–29|
|Pts: Sergey Belov 20
Rebs: Alexander Belov 8
|Pts: Tom Henderson, Jim Brewer 9 each
Rebs: Mike Bantom 9
- ESPN Classic account of the gold medal game
- Official Olympic Report
- 1972 Olympic Games: Tournament for Men, FIBA Archive.