Basketball in Catalonia
The first game of Basketball ever played in Catalonia was in 1913. This game was played in Terrassa, at the Vallparadís schoolyard. After WW1, with A. Galí and A. Martorell being the driving force behind it, basketball was introduced to the gym courses of Emile Tiberghien. It was on their recommendations and encouragement that the headmaster of Belgian origin added the game to his gymnasium in Barcelona, but it would take until 1922 until the game was properly established in Catalonia by the priest Eusebi Millan, who assembled the very first Basketball team in Barcelona at the "Escoles Pies de St. Anton" school.
In that same year, the very first Catalonian Basketball club was formed: the Basketball-Ball Laietà Club, now known as Club Esportiu Laietà. During this particular period in time the development of basketball mostly came from educational facilities with an origin in Catholicism, which was very popular at the time.
On December 8th in 1922 the very first basketball game ever played in Spain was organized. The match was hosted by CE Europa, a Catalonian sports club in Barcelona, who are better known for their football team, which was responsible for founding La Liga, and currently still is the home of one of the first basketball teams ever. At the time, their basketball team had won the championships of Catalonia on two separate occasions during the twenties. The first Basketball match in Spain ended with an outcome of 8 - 2 in favor of CE Europa.
One year later, on April 15th 1923, the very first Catalonian Championships were held and would continue for more than 3 decades with the exception of the civil war period. At that time the Catalonian Championships were, without a doubt, the most prominent competition in the Catalonian region until the Spanish league was to be created and would take over this prominent role. This Spanish league, which is also known as Sociación de Clubs de Baloncesto, or simply ACB, currently is the most important league for basketball in Spain. When founded the league was originally named "Liga Nacional", but this was changed to its current name in 1983.
The Catalonian Basketball Federation has organized the regional basketball competions since the early eighties, called The Catalan Basketball League. In this league, the top Catalonian Basketball teams compete against those of the ACB league.
Amongst the most successful basketball teams of Catalonia are FC Barcelona Bàsquet and Joventut Badalona, who both have competed at a European level in the Euro league. In addition there are several players who hail from Catalonia, who currently participate in the NBA. Among them: Raúl López, a pro basketball player, who has played for Utah Jazz, and has also starred in the Spanish version of the popular “NBA live” video game of 2004, and Juan Carlos Navarro, who is a pro basketball player currently playing for FC Barcelona in the Euro league, to name just a couple of the Catalonian Basketball players.