While not necessarily a young sport, basketball has never grown out of its infancy in Thailand. Thailand has a strong sports tradition, focused both on national and international sports. Soccer is by far the most popular international sport in the country, as it is in most of Asia. Thailand is unique in its sporting culture though as it has major domestic sports in Sepak Takraw and Muay Thai that are popular both as a pastime and a spectator sport. Basketball for the most part remains an urban game played by the middle and upper class.
On an international stage Thailand performs reasonably well in the Southeast Asia region. While not ranked in the overall FIBA rankings, Thailand has placed 2nd and 3rd in the SEABA Championships in the past. It is safe to say that traditionally Thailand is the 3rd strongest team behind the Philippines and Indonesia. On a positive note, the U17 Boys team is ranked #58 in the world.
The main professional basketball presence in Thailand is the Chang Thailand Slammers of the ASEAN Basketball League. The first year in the league was rocky for the Thai franchise, the Thailand Tigers, as the owner failed to meet his financial responsibilities. The team has solid financial backing now and a slowly growing fan following.
There are semi-professional teams that do compete in various leagues and tournaments. One such event is the annual Thailand Basketball Open which features a mixture of club teams from Thailand and from other Southeast Asian countries.
Thailand also fields an active University Basketball Championship each year. One interesting thing of note here is that the teams generally include a few international students on their rosters.
asia-basket.com Thailand Website - As there is no full-time correspondent covering Thailand basketball, this site is only updated when Thailand participates in an internationally sanctioned tournament, or the Slammers are in action.