FIBA Intercontinental Cup long and rich history

2019-01-22T19:47:29+00:00 2019-01-24T20:19:34+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

22/Jan/19 19:47

Ahead of this year’s version of the Intercontinental Cup, which will be played in Brazil with the revamped Final Four format, FIBA takes a look back at the tournament’s rich history.

By Eurohoops team/

The FIBA Intercontinental Cup has a long and rich history, one that dates back to 1966 when the inaugural title was captured by Italian powerhouse Ignis Varese at a four-team event in Madrid, Spain.

Ever since, the tournament has been held in various cities around the world and regularly featured some of the best teams in Europe (Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Varese, Maccabi, Panathinaikos and Olympiacos) and the Americas (Flamengo, Corinthians and Obras Sanitarias).

Varese’s triumph in the first FIBA Intercontinental Cup was the start of a 22-year run during which the event was held every single year, except for one (in 1971).

In the event’s early days, the USA were represented by teams from its National Alliance of Basketball Leagues (NABL). Long before LeBron James put his hometown of Akron, Ohio, on the map, the city made an indelible imprint on the FIBA Intercontinental Cup as the home of the NABL’s Akron Goodyear Wingfoots, the winners of the tournament’s second edition, staged in the Italian cities of Varese, Naples and Rome.

The Wingfoots successfully defended their title the following year – this time much closer to home, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – before successfully completing a three-peat in 1969 by once again winning on American soil, in Macon, Georgia.

Italian teams have historically had a strong and successful presence in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup. Ignis Varese were winners in 1966, 1970 and 1973 while Cantu captured the crown in 1975 and 1982, before Virtus Roma (1984) and Olimpia Milano (1987) each won the title.

Brazil’s influence on the competition has always been significant, with no fewer than 10 teams – Corinthians, Botafogo, Sirio, Vila Nova, Amazonas Franca, Atletica Francana, Monte Libano, Pinheiros Sky, Flamengo and Bauru – taking part over the years. However, only Sirio (1979) and Flamengo (2014 – see main photo) have come away as winners.

With Brazil legend Oscar Schmidt (center in back row) leading the way, Sirio were the first Brazilian club to win a FIBA Intercontinental Cup.

Real Madrid are the most successful team in the history of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, putting together a three-peat of their own in 1976, 1977 and 1978 and adding a further two titles (1981 and 2015).

In terms of the most successful countries, Italian clubs and Spanish sides are tied, accounting for seven tiles apiece.

In recent times, the FIBA Intercontinental Cup has been a two-team battle between leading clubs from South America and Europe.

While there have been years when the tournament did not take place (1971, 1988-95 and 1997-2012), it has always captured the imagination with excellent teams showing off different styles of play which have made for some memorable games.

FIBA Intercontinental Cup
Year Champions 2nd Place 3rd Place 4th place
1966 Ignis Varese (ITA) Corinthians (BRA) Real Madrid (ESP) Chicago Jamaco Saints (USA)
1967 Akron Goodyear Wingfoots (USA) Ignis Varese (ITA) Simmenthal Milano (ITA) Corinthians (BRA)
1968 Akron Goodyear Wingfoots (USA) Real Madrid (ESP) Simmenthal Milano (ITA) Botafogo (BRA)
1969 Akron Goodyear Wingfoots (USA) Spartak ZJS Brno (CZE) Sirio (BRA) Real Madrid (ESP)
1970 Ignis Varese (ITA) Real Madrid (ESP) Corinthians (BRA) Slavia VS Praha (CZE)
1972 NABL All-Stars (USA) Soviet Union Brazil Poland
1973 Ignis Varese (ITA) Sirio (BRA) Vaqueros de Bayamon (PUR) Jugoplastika (YUG)
1974 Maryland Terrapins (USA) Ignis Varese (ITA) Vila Nova (BRA) Real Madrid (ESP)
1975 Birra Forst Cantu (ITA) Amazonas Franca (BRA) Real Madrid (ESP) Penn Quakers (USA)
1976 Real Madrid (ESP) Mobilgirgi Varese (ITA) Obras Sanitarias (ARG) Amazonas Franca (BRA)
1977 Real Madrid (ESP) Mobilgirgi Varese (ITA) Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv (ISR) Atletica Francana (BRA)
1978 Real Madrid (ESP) Obras Sanitarias (ARG) Sirio (BRA) Mobilgirgi Varese (ITA)
1979 Sirio (BRA) Bosna (YUG) Emerson Varese (ITA) Piratas de Quebradillas (PUR)
1980 Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR) Atletica Francana (BRA) Bosna (YUG) Real Madrid (ESP)
1981 Real Madrid (ESP) Obras Sanitarias (ARG) Sirio (BRA) Mobilgirgi Varese (ITA)
1982 Ford Cantu (ITA) Nashua EBBC (NED) Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv (ISR) Air Force Falcons (USA)
1983 Obras Sanitarias (ARG) Jollycolombani Cantu (ITA) Penarol (URU) Monte Libano (BRA)
1984 Banco di Roma Virtus (ITA) Obras Sanitarias (ARG) Sirio (BRA) FC Barcelona (ESP)
1985 FC Barcelona (ESP) Monte Libano (BRA) Cibona (YUG) San Andres (ARG)
1986 Zalgiris (USSR) Ferro Carril Oeste (ARG) Cibona (YUG) Corinthians (BRA)
1987 Tracer Milano (ITA) FC Barcelona (ESP) Cibona (YUG) Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv (ISR)
1996 Panathinaikos (GRE) Olimpia (ARG) N/A N/A
2013 Olympiacos (GRE) Pinheiros Sky (BRA) N/A N/A
2014 Flamengo (BRA) Maccabi Electra Tel Avi (ISR) N/A N/A
2015 Real Madrid (ESP) Bauru (BRA) N/A N/A
2016 Guaros de Lara (VEN) Fraport Skyliners (GER) N/A N/A
2017 Iberostar Tenerife (ESP) Guaros de Lara (VEN) N/A N/A

Next month, the FIBA Intercontinental Cup returns to Rio for the first time since 2014. The showpiece event will be the first of its kind with tournament hosts Flamengo joined by the reigning champions of the NBA G League, Basketball Champions League and DIRECTV Liga de las Americas.

Source: FIBA