FIBA yesterday announced its 2009 Hall of Fame class and will induct 11 new members into the hallowed halls at Alcobendas (near Madrid) on September 22; a ceremony honoring the great figures of European ball will be held on September 20 in Katowice, Poland, before the Eurobasket 2009 finals.
European luminaries in the class include Jacky Chazalon, long-time member of Team France; referees Marcel Pfeuti of Switzerland and Artenik Arabadjian of Bulgaria; and Real Madrid coach-of-legend Pedro Ferrándiz.
Other inductees include Ricardo González (player, Argentina); Al Ramsay (“contributor,” Australia); Luis Martin (“contributor,” Argentina); Pete Newell (coach, USA); Ubiratan Pereira (player, Brazil); and the man who needs no parenthetical, Oscar “The Big O” Robertson.
Jacky Chazalon puts an exclamation point on a championship-heavy career with her induction into the Hall of Fame, adding the honor to post-career accolades such as the title of France’s women’s basketball player of the century in 1999.
Chazalon played professional ball from the age of 15 in a career spanning from 1960 to 1976, earning nine French League championships with Clermont CPU. Chazalon and Clermont thrived in the European women’s club tournament as well, with silvers in 1971, 1973 and 1974 trumped by the gold-medal win in 1976.
But it was Chazalon’s international career with Team France that truly puts her in the pantheon of greats: She earned a whopping 189 caps for France from 1963-1976. Chazalon and the Lady Blues played in the Eurocup Final Four three times in the 1970s, winning silver in ’70.
Speaking of titles, coach Pedro Ferrándiz has quite a few: 12 Spanish League titles, 10 Spanish Cup titles and four European Championship Cups. His .829 winning percentage in 527 matches with Real Madrid is certainly rarely matched at any time, in any part of the world, and was enough to earn him a spot in the US’ Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Despite only coaching Team Spain for two years – 1964 and 1965 – and never leading a team in the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee nevertheless bestowed upon him the Olympic Order in 1977, an honor that no other basketball coach has ever won.
Perhaps fittingly, the easiest way to make Artenik Arabadjian instantly recognizable to the basketball fan is simply to refer to him as part of the refereeing team that orchestrated the bizarre finish to the USA-USSR finals at the 1972 Olympic Games. Think the American fans’ll travel to Spain to boo his plaque?
The FIBA Hall of Fame was founded by the French Fédération Internationale de Basketball in 1991 to “honor those who have contributed to the international sport of basketball.”