32¢ Men’s Basketball
1996 Summer Olympics
Issue Date: May 2, 1996
City: Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Basketball was invented in the United States by James Naismith, a physical education instructor. Since that time, Americans have held the game close to their hearts. Since men’s basketball first appeared at the Olympics in 1936, the U.S. has won 92 games and lost only two! Women began competing in basketball at the 1976 Olympics, held in Montreal.
International rules are very similar to those used in the U.S., with some very important exceptions. In Olympic basketball, teams must shoot within 30 seconds after gaining possession of the ball. Once a shot has hit the rim, players may touch the ball no matter what its position – in U.S. rules this would lead to goal-tending violations. Also, teams are allowed seven fouls per half before going into a penalty situation. Before that mark is reached, the opposing team receives the ball. Once the penalty situation is reached, the opposing team may choose possession of the ball or shoot two foul shots.
Starting in 1992, professional athletes were allowed to participate in Olympic basketball. This resulted in America’s “Dream Team,” consisting of the National Basketball Association's best players. The Dream Team dominated the competition in 1992.