The Britannica Encyclopedia marks the year of arrival of basketball in Iran by 1901. But what is certain is that the first signs of the arrival of basketball to Iran were seen in 1931 and 1932 which were also by the staff of foreign embassies in Iran.
In 1935, a sports coach named “Fereydoun Sharifzadeh” founded basketball and introduced it to the students of Alborz High School (Alborz College) in Tehran, and little by little other sports coaches began to develop and teach this sport. In 1945, the Iranian National Basketball Federation was formed and the first appearance of Iranian basketball in international events was at the London Olympics (1948). The Iranian national basketball team is the name of the official senior team that represents Iran in world and international basketball competitions. The national basketball team of Iran operates under the auspices of the Basketball Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In recent years, basketball in Iran has grown. The biggest success of the national team before participating in the Asian Cup (2007) was its brilliant performance at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha where Iran won bronze medal after 50 years. The Iranian team finally won the Asian Cup in the Asian Nations Basketball Cup (2007), defeating all Asian teams and qualified for the Olympics for the second time in fifty years.
2007 FIBA Asia Championship
Placed in the dreaded “Group of Death” alongside China, the Philippines, and Jordan, the Iranians won all three group matches to make it to the next round.
In the quarterfinals, Iran went 2–1, to make it to semifinals, following victories over Chinese Taipei and Qatar, and then routed Kazakhstan, 75–62, in the semifinals.
The Iranians then beat Lebanon 74–69, with Hamed Haddadi scoring 31 points. Not only did it avenge an 82–60 defeat in the quarterfinals, they also became the first Western Asian team to win the tournament, and thus make it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
2008 Beijing Olympic Games
In being crowned the 2007 Asian Champions, the Iranians qualified for the 2008 Beijing games for the first time in 60 years. The Olympic experience led to a flurry of opportunities for the Iranian players, as they traveled across the world in preparation for the games, including a visit to the US. Iran was placed in Group A, along with Lithuania, Russia, Argentina, Croatia, and Australia, suffering five defeats. The Olympic experience opened doors for players such as Hamed Haddadi, and Iranian captain Samad Nikkhah Bahrami to play in the NBA (National Basketball Association) and sign in the top French League.
2009 FIBA Asia Championship
Winning the FIBA Asia Championship 2009 at Tianjin, China, was a sign on continuing progress in basketball. Iran defeated China, by a score of 70–52 in the final.
2010 FIBA World Championship
Iran’s second consecutive FIBA Asia Championship gave them their first ever FIBA World Championship berth, at the 2010 FIBA World Championship. The team finished 1–4 in Group B, good for 19th place.
2013 FIBA Asia Championship
Winning the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship at Manila, Philippines, was a sign that the Iranian team has forgot the tragedy of their loss to Jordan in last tournament, 2011 FIBA Asia Championship, and reclaimed the top place in the FIBA Asia. Iran defeated the charged up hosts Philippines by an 85-71 win in the final. Iranian center Hamed Haddadi, who played a stellar role in Iran’s triumph at the 27th FIBA Asia Championship, became the most accomplished individual player of the competition winning two awards, including that of the MVP. Iran was the only team with two awards in the All Stars with Oshin Sahakian named for the Power Forward position.
2014 FIBA World Championship
Iran’s third FIBA Asia Championship gave them their second FIBA World Championship berth, at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.