The United Nations has officially passed a resolution naming December 21 as “World Basketball Day,” marking a historic moment in the realm of basketball.
The groundbreaking decision by the United Nations General Assembly established basketball as the inaugural team sport to receive its own internationally recognized day sanctioned by the UN. This acknowledgment underscores the global significance of the game and its extraordinary capacity to bring individuals together from every corner of the world.
The notion of World Basketball Day originated from the book “How Basketball Can Save the World,” authored by Professor David Hollander at NYU. Within the pages of this book, Hollander presents a compelling argument that basketball wields the potential to positively impact the world by fostering peace, understanding, and collaboration.
Additionally, Professor Hollander at NYU offers a course titled “How Basketball Can Save The World: An Exploration of Society, Politics, Culture and Commerce Through the Game.” This course delves into the far-reaching influence of basketball on diverse global facets, including social dynamics, culture, politics, and commercial realms.
“The course will examine basketball’s influence and leadership on race, gender, and sexuality. Students will also see how basketball has served as a signpost for transformative trends in commerce and culture through areas like Hip-Hop music, fashion, sneakers, social media, and global iconoclasm (eg. Michael Jordan, Yao Ming.). Students will also learn about basketball’s role in struggles for national identity (eg. Lithuania, Israel, the former Yugoslavia). Finally, the course will understand the global popularity of basketball and its role as a 21st-century platform for diplomacy and peace (eg. Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un, US and China). “
The resolution, proposed by the Philippines, one of the host nations for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, garnered co-sponsorship from over 70 nations. It commemorates December 21 in honor of the day when Dr. James Naismith introduced basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“Basketball, as a globally recognized sport, serves as a unifying force through which people from different backgrounds can come together, creating connections and breaking down barriers, and thereby contribute to peace. He urged all Member States to support and co-sponsor the resolution, to honour a sport that people love and further enhance its contribution to global peace and development.
By the text, the Assembly would decide to proclaim 21 December as World Basketball Day and invite all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations, the private sector and civil society, individuals and other relevant stakeholders to observe the Day in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national priorities, and to disseminate the advantages of basketball for all, including through educational and public awareness-raising activities.”