VTB United League championship trophy to honor Sergei Belov

 The VTB United League's championship trophy will now be named in honor of Russian basketball legend Sergei Belov.

- As announced earlier by VTB United League president emeritus Sergei Ivanov, the decision to name the trophy in Sergei Belov's honor was supported by all of the league clubs, including our foreign teams, - said VTB United League president Sergei Kushchenko. - It took some to time to get everything in place, but now we can officially announce that this season's VTB United League champion will receive the Sergei Belov Trophy.

Famed basketball player and coach Sergei Belov was born on January 23, 1944 in Nashchekov, Tomsk Oblast. His basketball career started in 1964 at Uralmash (Sverdlovsk). He played for CSKA from 1967-1980, winning 11 USSR championships and two European Champions Cup trophies (1969 and 1971). He also played for the Soviet national team, winning the Olympic Games in 1972, two world championships (1967 and 1974) and four European championships (1967, 1969, 1971 and 1979).

Sergei Belov is the only basketball player to light the Olympic flame (1980 Moscow Olympics). He was named the greatest European basketball player ever in 1991. Belov was the first European to be inducted into the NBA's Hall of Fame in 1992.

After finishing his playing career, Belov was a very successful coach. He coached the Russian national team in 1994 and 1998, winning silver medals at the world championships and a bronze at the European championships in 1997. As CSKA and Ural-Great head coach, Belov won two Soviet championships (1982 and 1990) and two Russian championships (2001 and 2002). He also won the USSR Cup in 1982, the Russian Cup in 2004 and the NEBL championship in 2001. Belov came out of retirement in 2009 to coach Russia's university team to a silver medal at the Universiade.

Sergei Aleksandrovich Belov died on October 3, 2013.