CHARLOTTE (U.S.) - Patrick Baumann, the late Secretary General of FIBA and Internatonal Olympic Committee (IOC) Member, is remembered for many reasons but perhaps the most significant impact he had on anyone who met him was his personal belief in having respect for teammates and opponents alike, and his deep trust in the integrity and values of the game - as well as the individual - above all else. In a word, sportsmanship.
So it is truly appropriate that the memory of FIBA's third Secretary General - who passed away on October 13 - was honored with the awarding of the first Patrick Baumann Sportsmanship awards at the fifth annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp, held during NBA All-Star 2019 in Charlotte over the weekend.
"We would not be here today if it wasn't for the work of Patrick Baumann and his passion for the game of basketball," NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum told the campers. As a member of FIBA's Executive Committee and Central Board, Mr. Tatum worked closely with Mr. Baumann and called him a close and personal friend.
Patrick Baumann with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and Commissioner Adam Silver
at BWB Africa 2017.
The Patrick Baumann awards stress the positive development of the individual off the court as well as on it, thereby encompassing the values that BWB, as a whole, stands for.
Tatum then introduced the campers to current FIBA Secretary General, Andreas Zagklis.
Telling the 40 boys and 24 girls from around the world that he looks forward to seeing them at this summer's FIBA U19 Basketball World Cups for Men and Women and other FIBA youth events across the globe, Mr. Zagklis shared that Basketball Without Borders, "is a very important initiative for us, one we have been doing for many years with our partners at the NBA.
"The camp is part of our joint interest in making basketball the number one sport in the world. To do that we need to take care of our future, and you are the future of our sport. You are getting great instruction on and off the court and this will help you make your dreams come true."
FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis addresses the campers at BWB Global Camp in Charlotte.
Mr. Zagklis shared two key lessons imparted to him by Mr. Baumann with the campers.
"Patrick Baumann, our Secretary General and CEO for the past 16 years, taught me two things that I want to pass along to you today. Our job, together, is to make it possible for your dreams to come true in a way that benefits the sport and opens the opportunity for you to exhibit your talent. The second is that basketball is a team sport and one with very special values," he said.
"This is why today we present the Patrick Baumann Sportsmanship awards because Patrick was a leader. Even on the most difficult days he would have positive energy and a smile on his face and would communicate with his team that together, as a team, we could do great things.
"So even in the game of basketball, if you turn the ball over or miss the last shot, and the game is over, you still go and shake hands with your opponent. This is very important. It is not only a skill for life on the court but also for life off the court."
Mr. Zagklis introduced Mr. Baumann's children, Bianca and Paul, to present the inaugural awards, in doing so connecting their father once again to the future of the game.
The honorees for this camp were 18-year-old Zoe Wadoux of France (Girls) and 17-year-old Santiago Vescovi of Uruguay (Boys).
Zoe Wadoux (left) encourages her teammates at the FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup 2018
"It's a big honor for me," said Wadoux. "It's a big chance for me with all the big players in the world and I try to be the best partner for my teammates, making the passes, clapping for them. When I make the pass and she makes the bucket, I am like, "thank you." It's like I made the shot. It's in my personality. I want to give to all of my teammates, my family, my friends."
Santiago Vescovi in action at the BWB Global Camp in Charlotte
"I'm really proud to receive this award," said Vescovi. "It's important to get that kind of recognition, not just about basketball but what I do with my teammates, helping everyone and trying to get them up. I had a really good relationship with the coach and the people on the bench. Being respectful is something you learn at home and do in your daily life. It's one of the most important things on the court and in everyday life."
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