On Wednesday, a plaque containing the names of members from the 1950 FIBA World Championships wining team was unveiled at Luna Park. Even after 60 years, their legacy remains intact in Albiceleste folklore.
Among those who attended this event was the head coach, Jorge CANAVESI, team captain Ricardo GONZALEZ and the Tallbiceleste first ever superstar, Oscar FURLONG. Both of them have been enshrined in FIBA Hall of Fame.
In the final they defeated the USA by 64-50, with FURLONG scoring 20 points. That historical night is famously known as “la noche de las antorchas” (the night of the torches).
FURLONG aka El Pillin was named MVP and leading scorer in that tournament. He is often regarded the game’s pioneer in Argentina. He did played college basketball at Southern Methodist for three years (1953-56) and was responsible in introducing the jump shot in Argentina. Before that, he turned down a formal offer to play in the NBA with the Minneapolis Lakers and the Baltimore Bullets.
The same team also narrowly missed on out the chance to win a medal in the 1952 Olympics Games in Helsinki, where they were defeated by Uruguay 59-68 in the bronze medal match. At that point of time, the team was up to something promising.
However, after that it all went sour for basketball in Argentina.
In January 1956 the so-called Liberation Revolution which had overthrown the government of Juan PERON, opened an investigation into all the members of that team. The players were accused to have received gift from PERON and as a result they were suspended for life by the junta government.
The ban was lifted 11 years later but by that time it had already ruined most of the players career. It would take several decades later for Argentina to recover and regain back it’s status as an international force in basketball.
In my opinion, today’s Argentine basketball superstars owe a debt to the players from that generation. Without them, the likes of Manu GINOBILI, Luis SCOLA and others would not have enjoyed the kind of career which they have today.
You can read more about this team on the following link.
On behalf of everyone at Mundo Albiceleste, a big congratulation to the King's of the World of 1950.