The National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament, a not-for-profit organization, was established in 1931 by three Greek men: Philip J. Collias, Laodamas Delligianis and Constantine Papas.
The three shared a passion for the emerging sport of basketball and the well-being of Greek youth in the greater Chicago region. Being at the threshold of the Great Depression with its crippling economic hardships, the tournament injected great energy into the Greek community. First it brought together Hellenic basketball players from Chicago and many surrounding cities to showcase their skills through intense competition. It also served as a powerful magnet – bringing fans, friends, families and various European ethnicities together to share common heritage, learn about this new sport and root for their favorite team. Geographic rivalries sprouted from the tournament which only added to the spirit of the games.
The 1930s in basketball saw the emergence of the collegiate game. Aspiring Greek players were attracted to new innovations in the game. By 1931, a first generation of Greek American teams took to the hard-court. From it’s inception, the NHIBT has proudly stood as the oldest Hellenic basketball tournament in the nation and an inspiration to those that followed.