By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
This determination and passion to see his beloved game achieve its full potential were on full display when Baumann gave the opening address at the first-ever FIBA World Basketball Summit in Xi’an, China on October 3.
He presented the key factors which lead to success for national federations, while also stressing the importance for all of basketball’s stakeholders to work together, as members of one same team, in order to achieve FIBA’s main mission of growing the game.
“We have a vision: we want basketball to become the most popular sport community in the world. I think we are on the good road to making this happen, starting here in Xi’an and ending up in L.A. in 2028,” he said. “Today basketball is a global game. It is the first sport, worldwide, among indoor sports.”
For Baumann, the most obvious way to achieve this starts in one’s own country.
“When you want to see a game, a sport, growing, the driving force is when the name of the country is written here (he moved hand across his chest) in any sport. Basketball is no different,” he argued. “The national team is the driving force. Of course, you don’t have a national team without many things behind it, but it is the driving force. It talks to the core fans, but it also talks to the people that usually may not follow basketball on a day-to-day basis. It grows the base of those that love basketball and it follows you if your national team is successful.”
It is for this very reason that he headed up the years of efforts which led to the FIBA Men’s National Team Competition System – and as part of this the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers – coming to fruition.
“That’s why you see now with the Qualifiers that you have 80 countries that play simultaneously around the globe, on five continents, that try to qualify for the World Cup,” he explained. “That is a huge exposure for basketball, something that is difficult to replicate unless it is a national team. As in football, the national team is core.”
You can read the rest of Baumann’s inspiring speech on FIBA.com.