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2017 Class of FIBA Hall of Fame: Valdis Valters

MIES (FIBA Hall of Fame) - One of the brightest names in the history of Latvian basketball, Valdis Valters, is among the players headlining the FIBA Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Valters, who was a true floor general on the court, is among six former players being enshrined into the Hall of Fame, alongside Shaquille O'Neal (United States), Toni Kukoc (Croatia), Mickey Berkowitz (Israel), Pero Cameron (New Zealand) and Razija Mujanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Joining them is coaching great Dusan Ivkovic (Serbia) and the Dream Team, arguably the greatest international team of all time. They were selected from a list of more than 150 candidates.

The Riga-born former player made a name for himself as a top-class point guard with unparalleled passing skills, a magnificent shooting stroke, and one-of-a-kind leadership abilities.

He celebrated his major international achievements with the USSR national team, winning gold at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 1982 and claiming two FIBA EuroBasket titles in 1981 and 1985, notching up the Most Valuable Player award during his first triumph. He was named to the All-Tournament team on both occasions.

Valters was also a runner-up at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 1986 and added FIBA EuroBasket silver and bronze to his collection of medals in 1987 and 1983, respectively.

After the restoration of independence, Valters represented Latvia at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament.

At club level, the player was the face of the VEF Riga basketball team from 1976 to 1989, winning six Latvian titles with the side, before adding three more to his name as a member of BK Broceni between 1992 and 1997.

He holds the USSR Premier League's all-time scoring record with 69 points against Dynamo Moscow.

Always the leader of the teams he played for on and off the court, Valters later went on to become a coach and paced the sidelines of four clubs - BK Broceni, BK Skonto, ASK Juniors and VEF Riga - from 1996 all the way to 2010.

Valters is the second Latvian player to be named to the FIBA Hall of Fame, joining a star of the women's game Uljana Semjonova, who was inducted in the Class of 2007.

Both of his sons also followed in his footsteps, becoming professional basketball players and representing the Latvian national team on the international stage.

Name Valdis Valters
Category of Inductee Player
Date of birth August 4, 1957
Place of birth Riga, Latvia
Nationality Latvia
Height 6ft 4in (1.93m)

As player:

  • VEF Rīga (1976–1989)
  • BK Brocēni (1993–1999)

As coach:

  • BK Brocēni (1996-2000)
  • BK Skonto (2000-2003)
  • ASK Juniors (2006-2007)
  • VEF Rīga (2007-2010)
Club highlights

As player

  • 9-time National Champion of Latvia (1974, 1979, 1982, 1984-1986, 1992, 1993 and 1996)

As coach:

  • 3-time National Champion of Latvia (1997, 1998 and 1999)
National team highlights
  • Gold (1982) and Silver (1986) medalist at the FIBA World Championship
  • 2-time gold (1981 and 1985), silver (1986) and bronze (1983) medalist at EuroBasket
  • Gold medalist at the Universiada (1985)
Individual highlights
  • EuroBasket MVP (1981)
  • Two-time EuroBasket All-Tournament team (1981 and 1985)

The 2017 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame will be inducted during a special ceremony at the House of Basketball - the headquarters of basketball's world governing body on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland - on Saturday September 30.