World Basketball is in mourning after the sad passing of one of the greats of the game, Sergei Belov (pictured left). The Russian died today in Perm in his native country, he was 69-years old.
Hugely decorated as a club and international player, Sergei Belov was a shooting guard who reached the pinnacle of the sport on the court and from the bench as a coach. It is a testament to his skill as a player that he is remembered as one of the all-time greats. Sergei Belov is considered one of the best European basketball players of all time.
At club level, Sergei Belov went down in history as part of the massively successful CSKA Moscow team of the 1970s. From 1969 to 1980 the team won eleven consecutive Russian league titles and Belov was an integral part of that success, also aiding the club to two Euroleague crowns in 1969 and 1971.
However, globally and in Russia, Belov will be best remembered for being a driving force for a Soviet Union team that swept all before it on the international scene. He scored 20 points over the United States during the final of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich to propel the Soviet Union to the gold medal. Over his career, Sergei Belov was a vital component as the Soviet Union claimed three Olympic bronze medals (alongside the earlier gold), two FIBA World Championships (1967 and 1974) and four FIBA European championships (1967, 1969, 1971, and 1979).
After retiring as one of the sport’s most decorated players, Belov turned to coaching and thrived on the bench as the head tactician at CSKA Moscow, Basket Cassino (Italy), and Ural Great Perm (Russia). He guided CSKA to the USSR League title in 1982 and 1990 and then repeated the feat with Ural great Perm by winning the Russian Superleague in 2001 and 2002.
It was almost inevitable that Sergei Belov would become Russian national team coach and so it was to be. With the national team, he claimed two FIBA World silver medals (1994 and 1998) and bronze at Eurobasket 1997.
With such a massive history in the sport, Basketball fans everywhere will be paying respects to Sergei Belov after his passing on Thursday.
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