Bread City Basketball


BASKETBALL IN IRAQ

I. American troops play basketball in Saddam Hussein’s occupied Birthday Palace. Tikrit, Iraq, 2004.

Iraq Saddam's Palace Tikrit Basketball
original photo by Paolo Woods

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II. The 1948 Summer Games in London was the first and only time that Iraq fielded an Olympic basketball team. They sustained five of the tournament’s worst defeats. Iraq lost to China, Korea, the Philippines, and Chile by an average of 86 points per game. The United States won gold.

Iraqi Olympic Basketball Team

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III. “The next week, back in Baghdad, I had a whiskey one evening with the Time bureau manager and a pair of reporters and told them about the killings at the basketball game… The bureau manager lit another cigarette as we sat in silence for a moment. ‘And especially, basketball being a pro-Western sport was nonsense,’ he said. ‘Iraqis have been playing basketball for fifty years, since long before all this. They love it.’”
– From The End of Major Combat Operations, by Nick McDonnell

Richard Mosse's Iraq
photo by Richard Mosse

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Is there any way I could get a good copy of the picture you have posted in this article on the Iraqi olympic basketball team? One of those individuals is my dad and I don’t have that picture!

Comment by Layla

Hi Layla, that is so cool, thanks for getting in touch! I will email you what I have.

Comment by Jake

Thank you for the picture Jake! Much appreciated. He is attending the London Olympics this year, in a couple months. I hope it is a great experience for him.

Comment by Layla




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