The performance of the Latvian men's basketball team has surprised everybody and has put Latvia's basketball back on the global map. A strong will and an amazing fighting spirit.
Basketball has always been a popular and loved type of sports in Latvia. 2023 will mark a centenary since the establishment of the Latvian Basketball Federation. Taking into account this event and the overall successful results – achievements in 3x3 basketball, the success of the women's team and the popularity of this sport in general, Latvijas Banka plans to issue a euro collector coin dedicated to the basketball theme. The coin is expected in November of this year, and the author of the graphic design is Paulis Liepa.
The coin dedicated to basketball is being struck by the Mint of Italy
(Istituto Polografica e Zecca dello Stato). In the 2023 FIBA World Cup, both Latvia and Italy are listed among the top eight leading teams in the world. Both teams crossed paths on September 7 2023, competing for the 5th place. Interestingly, the head coach of the Latvian team is the Italian Luca Banchi, who has admitted that it will be unusual to fight with his own homeland team, while he feels proud for the achievements and progress of the Latvian team. This coin also symbolizes the cooperation between Latvia and Italy, but the game on the basketball field will be full of passion without compromises.
The first basketball games in Latvia took place in 1920. During these slightly more than 100 years basketball has become one of the most popular types of sports in Latvia. Currently there are six professional teams in our country, and approximately 60 teams take part in the amateur tournaments organized by the Latvian Basketball Federation. In addition, there are also school and university teams, and this year 423 teams take part in the Youth League.
Basketball is very diverse. During the past years street basketball or a 3x3 format game, has gained huge popularity. The Latvian 3x3 basketball team won the Olympic Champion title in 2021. In 2022, 120 teams participated in the Latvia Cup. Basketball baskets are also seen in many backyards, and street basketball fields are available to everyone.
The coin brings the message about basketball as a strategic game. Both the team and the strategy of the game and the capacity to cooperate and to use the strengths of the team in the best possible way play a significant role in it. Without a smart strategy there is no victory. Will the ball fall into the basket, will we get the necessary victory point?