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FIBA celebrates women’s basketball with nine greats inducted into Hall of Fame for 2022

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MIES (Switzerland) – Nine individuals that made enormous contributions to women’s basketball have been officially inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2022. The ceremony took place at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball.

Legendary players Lisa Leslie (USA), Robyn Maher (Australia), Catarina Pollini (Italy), Mame Maty Mbengue (Senegal), Jurgita Streimikyte-Virbickiene (Lithuania) and coaches Geno Auriemma (USA), Antonio Carlos Barbosa (Brazil), Milan “Ciga” Vasojevic (Serbia – posthumously) and Maria Planas (Spain) are in the Class of 2022.

FIBA President Hamane Niang hailed the impact of each and celebrated their induction by saying: “We are very proud to welcome these great basketball personalities into the FIBA Hall of Fame. Women’s basketball has benefited greatly from the contributions of these nine inductees, both on and off the court. My sincere congratulations go to them all for receiving this well-deserved honor.”

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Class of 2022 inductee Lisa Leslie with FIBA President Hamane Niang 

FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, who gave the closing speech of the ceremony, said: “It is an honor to have these fantastic legends, these exceptional individuals, not only inducted into the Hall of Fame but also in our company tonight. I would like to congratulate them and thank them for their contribution to the game. I could not find a better way for us to close the year of the 90th anniversary of FIBA than with a Hall of Fame ceremony dedicated to those men and women who have worked so hard for women’s basketball”.

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Class of 2022 inductee Robyn Maher with FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis 

One of FIBA’s strategic priorities for the current working cycle is Women in Basketball, with a strong focus on increasing the number of girls and women playing the sport but also on having more female coaches, referees, leaders and administrators. The Class of 2022 is a reflection of these efforts.

To view the acceptance speech, click on the links below for each inductee: 

Geno Auriemma has led the USA national team to multiple gold medals at the Olympics and FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, and steered UConn to 11 NCAA Championship titles. Currently coaching UConn, he could not attend the ceremony but was present through Zoom.

Antonio Carlos Barbosa has dedicated 20 years of his life to coaching Brazil and has claimed multiple medals on the international stage.

Lisa Leslie is a two-time FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Champion and a four-time Olympic gold medallist. Among international basketball’s most decorated players, she ranks among the best.

Robyn Maher is one of the most distinguished players in Australian basketball history. With 374 games played, including 174 as captain, she represented the Opals at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup on six occasions.

Mame Maty Mbengue reached the top of the podium five times at the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket during her impressive career, leading to her recognition as the best African player ever.

Maria Planas is a true pioneer of Spanish women’s basketball and to this day remains the only female head coach in the long and rich history of her country’s senior national teams.

Catarina Pollini’s brilliant career is highlighted by 252 appearances for the senior national team and multiple titles on the national and continental stages.

In addition to numerous titles at clubs, Jurgita Streimikyte-Virbickiene contributed enormously to the Lithuanian title at the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket in 1997.

Milan Vasojevic’s arrival as the head coach of the Yugoslavia national team in 1980 sparked a truly golden period, with his impact on the team huge from the outset.

To find out more about the FIBA Hall of Fame click here and to view the full ceremony click here.

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About the FIBA Hall of Fame
The FIBA Hall of Fame is a shrine dedicated to the amazing people who built the foundations of the global sport of basketball since its birth until its accomplished glory of today. It strives to be a genuinely international institution, active in the promotion and remembrance of basketball all over the world and houses the great men and women who were proactive and outstanding in the improvement and development of our sport. Created in 2007, it assembles over 110 outstanding players and coaches from 37 countries and all five continents to date. Its home is the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball in Mies, Switzerland.

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