- National Teams
FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann unexpectedly passed away at the age of 51 following a heart attack during the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The FIBA Secretary General since 2002 and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member since 2007, Baumann was at the forefront of the FIBA lobbying group for a singular Great Britain federation as the official FIBA member, and spoke out on multiple occasions against the UK government when funding was cut to the British Basketball programme post-2012.
— FIBA media (@FIBA_media) October 14, 2018
It was also Baumann who announced GB would be given a spot at the London 2012 Olympics.
A Swiss national born on August 5, 1967, Mr Baumann was a former player, coach and referee who first joined FIBA as a lawyer in 1994 and was appointed FIBA Deputy Secretary General in 1995.
Our thoughts are with Patrick’s family and the whole @FIBA family at this very difficult time.
Remembering a great leader who helped take the sport we all love to new heights. https://t.co/dXGd0gkU2N
— basketballscotland (@basketballscot) October 14, 2018
In 2002, he was unanimously appointed FIBA Secretary General by the FIBA Central Board. As such, he became only the third FIBA Secretary General, after Dr. William Jones and Borislav Stankovic.
Tributes from across the basketball world have come flooding in.
FIBA President Horacio Muratore said: “On behalf of the entire FIBA family, I wish to express our deepest sympathies and pass on our condolences to Patrick’s wife Patricia, their family and loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this very difficult time.
“Patrick was a lot more than FIBA’s Secretary General and an IOC member. He was a very close friend of mine as well as to countless people in the basketball family and the wider sport community.
“Under his leadership, FIBA moved forward by leaps and bounds, with the organization modernizing itself to the extent of becoming a model which fellow International Federations followed.
“Patrick was at the forefront of FIBA making radical changes to its governance structure, successfully building and moving into its own state-of-the-art Headquarters outside of Geneva as well as launching 3×3, its urban discipline which became a part of basketball’s program at the Olympics. He was also instrumental in the process of ‘ONE FIBA’, the coming together of all of FIBA’s Regional Offices into one corporate group, with everyone looking and heading in the same direction for the best interests of our beloved sport. Last but not least, he led the way in the creation and implementation of FIBA’s New Competition System.
“For all of this and for so much more, FIBA is forever indebted to Patrick. Without doubt we would not be where we are today were it not for everything that he did. His unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic and pure passion for basketball mean he will forever have his place in FIBA’s history.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement:
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Patrick Baumann. We were just together for the first FIBA World Basketball Summit in Xian, China — an event he established to bring together basketball stakeholders from around the world.
“Nobody was more dedicated to the growth of basketball than Patrick. He loved the game and recognized its power to transform people’s lives. He was also a dear friend and colleague who I attended countless games and events with over the past 20 years. The NBA family mourns the loss of Patrick and we send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Patricia, his children Bianca and Paul, and his many friends in the basketball and Olympic communities.”
To honour the memory of Mr Baumann, the IOC President asked for the Olympic flag to be flown at half-mast at the IOC Headquarters and at the IOC Headquarters at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires for three days. The IOC will also hold a memorial in the Youth Olympic Village.
The British Basketball Federation are yet to release a statement.