There are plenty of good basketball teams in the world. People will often fondly remember the Chicago Bulls and the L.A. Lakers, but often forget the national teams which compete at the quadriennal FIBA World Cup. The United States lineup is often one of the best ones, given that most of the talent plays in the NBA, but other national teams have risen to the occasion, notably the former Yugoslavia national team and that of the Soviet Union. The current top gold medalists are the United States and former Yugoslavia, both sitting at five medals each. Imagine the bookmakers’ joy if such powerhouses were to play again. Sites like Betway and bet365 would need new servers.
But, given that Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union are no more, we should take a look at another, very interesting team, on the southern hemisphere. The New Caledonia national basketball team is a very special team, second only to Australia in the Oceania region. Here is a bit of history regarding the New Caledonia basketball team.
New Caledonia Basketball Team – Was it Ever Old?
The puns never stop, and with a name like New Caledonia, you can only expect that with every new player who steps onto the court for New Caledonia, the commentators and press never fail to amaze with a new New Caledonia basketball team title or subtitle. All jokes aside, the NC basketball team has won quite a few gold medals in various tournaments in the Oceania region.
The FIBA Oceania Championship used to be an event which was held until 2017, where men’s national basketball teams competed. The NC team was second only to Australia when it comes to the number of gold medals. This competition is now defunct, or rather, it was merged with the FIBA Pacific Championship to form the FIBA Asia-Pacific Championship, but it is more commonly known as the FIBA Asia Cup. None of these events count towards qualification for the World Cup or the Olympic Games. While it used to be this way, continental championships were used as a form of qualification for national teams, qualifications now span a 2 year period and continental results are not taken into account. Specific, qualification matches are played for the World Cup entry.
Local Champions – Global Unknowns
While they might have won plenty of local championship titles, mostly in the FIBA Oceania Championship, they have yet to make an appearance at the World Cup. This is mostly due to Australia and New Zealand being much more dominant than the rest of the countries in the Oceania region. While they might not be known globally as one of the better teams in the Oceania region, they are still fierce competitors and have won plenty of medals. Their fans are certainly as passionate as any fan is.
The New Caledonia national basketball team has had its fair share of local success stories. They have yet to prove themselves on a global level but will most likely do so, given enough time.