Aleksandr J. Gomelsky

Aleksandr Gomelsky, known as the father of Soviet men's basketball, began developing the Russian game at age 17 at the USSR Coaches School. Over the next 29 years, “Aleksandr the Great” became a no nonsense taskmaster who won better than 70 percent of the more than 2,600 games he coached. Under Gomelsky’s shrewd and watchful eye, the Soviet National team Sbornaya won seven European Championships, and two World Championships. Gomelsky led the Soviet Union to a pair of Olympic bronze medals in 1968 and 1980, the silver medal in 1964, and most notably, the 1988 gold medal in Seoul, a feat that ended 21 straight U.S. Olympic wins. The 1988 Soviet team included Arvydas Sabonis, Aleksanr Volkov, and Sarunas Marciulionis and overthrew the mighty Americans as well as the team from Yugoslavia, which included Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoc, Drazen Petrovic, and Dino Radja, to win the gold. From 1953 to 1986, as coach of the ASK Riga and TSKA Moscow teams, Gomelsky won thirteen Soviet national titles.