GENEVA (FIBA) - Monday 18 June 2012 marks the 80th anniversary of FIBA - the International Basketball Federation.
Exactly 80 years ago to the day, a small group of basketball representatives from eight countries gathered around a table. Following several hours of talks, a document was produced and signed. With that, FIBA was born.
In the eight decades since, FIBA has seen its membership grow steadily and today caters to 213 National Federations.
Over that same period of time, basketball's governing body has successfully organised 16 Men's and Women's World Championships and the sport has been played at 17 Olympics.
More importantly, the sport has grown at an impressive rate to become truly global. These days, basketball is played just about everywhere - indoors, outdoors, on street corners and on beaches, on one hoop or two.
"Over 80 years, basketball has grown so much and has become one of the biggest sports in the Olympic Movement," said FIBA Secretary General Emeritus Borislav Stankovic.
"We started with eight national federations who founded FIBA and today we have 213. For a long time now we have been able to say that there isn't a corner of the world where basketball isn't played."
Mr Stankovic is particularly proud that FIBA has always tried to concern itself with the women's game just as much as the men's.
"It has been a very important aspect through the years to put women's basketball on the same road as the men's. For example the first-ever FIBA World Championship for Men was in 1950 and the Women's one just a year later," he recalled.
"So the development of both the men's and women's game has taken place in parallel and that has worked very well for basketball as a whole."
The drive of his former colleague, Dr Renato William Jones - one of FIBA's founding fathers and its first Secretary General - is something that Mr Stankovic also remembers very clearly and fondly.
"Dr Jones always was an optimistic person and began dedicating his life to basketball before he was 30. He studied basketball at Springfield College and basketball was lucky - after having had Dr James Naismith (as its inventor) - to have Jones as the leader of international basketball. He had the sense to spread basketball throughout the world and to build solid foundations for the sport," he recalled.
His 30-plus years with FIBA have been ones that Mr Stankovic cherishes to this day.
"FIBA, now as always, has been a federation run like a big family. All who have worked in FIBA's offices have felt like friends, members of a big family in which everyone has rights and obligations," he said.
Patrick Baumann, FIBA's current Secretary General since succeeding Mr Stankovic in 2002, joined his predecessor in reflecting on the International Federation's special anniversary.
"Congratulations to FIBA on turning 80. We have 213 national federations, half a billion people playing basketball. It is certainly one of the most popular sports in the world," he said.
"This is the result of 80 years worth of incredible work that has been accomplished by all those out on basketball courts, but also those who work behind the scenes, volunteers and many more. All the hard work adds up to people doing what they love to do and also giving joy and hope to others."
Mr Baumann believes the anniversary marks an important moment in time for FIBA.
"FIBA can certainly say it is a big federation. We are at a crossroads where we have to figure out the right path to follow for the next 80 years. We are working on adding to that half a billion who are involved in basketball because we know there are a lot more people out there and that basketball can be enjoyed by so many more," he said.
"That is why we have launched 3x3. We're thinking about how, 20 years after the Barcelona Olympics, we can continue to improve and reinforce the relationship between the best professional basketball league in the world, the NBA, and the rest of world basketball.
"It's always stimulating and interesting to sit with giants of the game like Mr Borislav Stankovic who has so much valuable experience and to talk with David Stern who built something very impressive with the NBA.
"These are great men who set down the foundations in order for basketball to become global, universal. They have given us the tools to try and make basketball the best sport in the world."