ARCHIBALD WANTS A WALK IN THE PARK

Former NBA player Robert Archibald believes Great Britain’s basketballers deserve a place in next year’s Olympic Games after proving they can now hold their own against the global elite. 

 

The Scot, now featuring for Unicaja Malaga, will be among the keenest observers when the decision is taken on whether to award the hosts an automatic berth at London 2012.

It would be harsh, Archibald declared, if FIBA’s 22-person ruling board were to deny Team GB an invite when they vote on the issue in Lyon. Despite a lack of pedigree, Britain’s water polo, volleyball and handball teams have been given the go-ahead in recent weeks.

Basketball is unique, however, in that the international governing body holds the final say. And there have not been definite rules for their game.

“We’ve been patiently waiting for a long time,” Archibald said.

“It seems that they’ve been holding the carrot in front of the donkey. But it’s been difficult from our end not to know what’s going on. FIBA’s been taking advantage of the situation to push through some changes in the domestic game but there’s no question we can compete.”

Both the national men’s and women’s sides have qualified for this summer’s Eurobasket finals. Their standard is not in question. “We have always insisted that as well as being competitive, the British game needs to have a strong legacy plan in place,” stated FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann. Concerns remain over the sport’s unity of purpose. “Basketball will and can continue with or without Britain,” he warned.

Archibald hopes for inclusion. It is, he underlined, been the primary objective since the home nations agreed to field a single side six years ago. It was 2012 or bust. “I went to the World University Games and even though it doesn’t have the same prestige as the Olympics, it was amazing to walk in the opening ceremony and then to participate.

"The whole experience was great. So I can only imagine what it would be like to do something on a higher level.”

Main photo: courtesy, British Basketball

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