History of the basketball section
Founded on 24 August 1926, the FC Barcelona basketball team played their first games at the Sol de Baix sports complex (between the current Avinguda Madrid and the Travessera de Les Corts). It was not until the 1930s that basketball became well established in Catalonia. After the Spanish Civil War, the FC Barcelona basketball team played in the First Division (1940) on a new court next to the south end of the Les Corts football field. The team’s best era would come in the second half of the 1940s, with Barça firmly seated high up the ladder of Spanish basketball.
Opening of the Palau
After a period of crisis, in 1958/59 the team won the Spanish League and the Copa del Generalísimo. A subsequent period of decline lasted all too long, and the inauguration of the Palau Blaugrana in 1971, despite giving a big boost to the section, did not help to bring the success that Barça fans had long awaited. Real Madrid was, at the time, the most powerful team in Spain. In 1977/78, however, Barça managed to beat Real Madrid 103-96 to win the Copa del Rey.
First European title
In the 1980s, Barça basketball had one of the best periods of its history thanks to players like Juan Antonio San Epifanio 'Epi', Nacho Solozábal and Chicho Sibilio, among others. In 1980/81 the Club, after twenty-two years of disappointments, finally won another league title. In the 1984/85 season FC Barcelona won their first European title by hoisting the FIBA European Cup Winners' Cup with a victory over Zalgiris Kaunas (77-73), a title they would win again one year later by defeating Italy’s Scavolini (101-86). In addition, Barça would go on to win the 1986/87 European Super Cup and, in the Spanish League, would begin a three-year run of supremacy lasting from 1988 to 1990.
Barça reaches the summit
In the late twentieth century, the generation of Andrés Jiménez, Audie Norris and Epi gave way to that of Juan Carlos Navarro, Rodrigo de la Fuente, Roberto Dueñas and Pau Gasol. Over ten years the team lived up to the expectations created in the 1908s and won four league titles — three consecutively — three Copas del Rey and one FIBA Korać Cup.
But the team’s European peak came in 2002/03. Led by Dejan Bodiroga, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Navarro, Barça won the Euroleague, formerly called the European Cup, by defeating Benetton Treviso in the Final Four with the Palau Sant Jordi filled to brim. The same year Barça completed a European milestone by winning the ACB League and the Copa del Rey.
Since then, FC Barcelona has managed to stay among the basketball elite with new national and continental titles. The culmination of the team’s outstanding play came in the 2009/10 season when head coach Xavi Pascual brought together a dream team featuring Juan Carlos Navarro, Ricky Rubio, Fran Vázquez, Erazem Lorbek and Pete Mickeal. The team’s trophy haul that year was impressive, with conquests of the Catalan League, the ACB Super Cup, the Copa del Rey and the second Euroleague championship in team history with a win over Olympiacos in the Final Four played in Paris.
Since then the team has won League titles in 2011, 2012 and 2014 and the Copa del Rey in 2011 and 2013, plus multiple ACB Super Cups. The team has now reached a total of 20 consecutive ACB finals.