As with any Summer Olympics, there are so many sports, and therefore so many venues, that it's impossible to have them all in one place if they're going to be hosted in an existing metropolis—especially one that's been around as long as Beijing! So as you might imagine, venues are spread far and wide around the city (and actually, the Equestrian Venue was all the way out in Hong Kong!). And as far as cities go, Beijing is huge. Fortunately the Olympics Committee had organized an extremely effective bus system (albeit not a 'green' bus system, which would have been very welcome considering the pollution problem that they already have), that could get you to any venue and most of the hotels, any time, any day.
Many of the venues were newly built for the Olympic Games, and the rest were newly renovated. I'm going to take a wild guess that the Basketball arena fell into the former category. It was gorgeous inside and out. You saw the inside in the previous post; here is the outside (front and back) of the 168,000 square meter, seven floor, 18,000 spectator capacity Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium.
Front of the Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena
The front and back are not different colors; the colors actually change over time. The "texture" of the surface are a series of uneven slats that give the building a dynamic, ever-changing look. It's very, very cool.
Back of the Beijing Olympic Basketball Arena