Basketball is popular among Special Olympics athletes and is one of the most popular sports at Special Olympics. We offer team events along with individual skills competitions. Athletes can train and compete in basic skills before advancing to team play. Therefore, players of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to advance individual skills, work as a team and compete at various competitions.
In addition to traditional events, athletes can participate in Unified Sports® full court events. Unified Sports assigns Special Olympics athletes and partners without intellectual disabilities to the same team. During Unified basketball competition, the lineup will never exceed three athletes and two partners at any time. At the state-level tournament during Summer Games, athletes can compete in either Unified competition or another basketball event.
Unified Basketball is offered at Regional and State Tournaments only since Area competitions do not have Unified events. The minimum age for athletes and partners in Unified Basketball is age 8.
Full court competition: 5-on-5
Half court competition: 3-on-3
Unified full court competition: 5-on-5
Individual skills and Unified skills: Dribbling, passing, shooting
Handbook & Rules
- Basketball was first contested in 1968 at the first Special Olympics Games in Chicago, Ill.
- More than 80 Special Olympics Minnesota delegations offer basketball training and competition.