July 31, 2020
Mr. Hamane Niang
Dear Mr. President,
In your letter dated June 12, 2020, address to all FIBA members and followers, you sought for the more unified global basketball community.
First, your wish for friendship and equality with member associations from different continents is most welcomed and a good start rather for so long as it is not merely a publicity stunt, which was the case in the past two-and-a-half decades under the incompetent leadership of Patric Baumann and Borislav Stankovic, who both are now answerable to the Lord Almighty.
Their leadership of FIBA was based on political patronage and not on an even playing field as the two always gravitated to rich personages from the association for financial considerations.
Their lack of sincerity and appreciation of views and opinions that are contrary to there was very evident in my experience with them, specifically in the case of the Philippines, when the FIBA suspended the traditional Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) in 2005 as the country’s national basketball federation then later ousted in the late 2009s in favor of a fledgling group headed by a telecommunication tycoon in blatant violation of the Bangkok Agreement (attached) that was even witnessed by Baumann.
I sought them out many times, once even meeting up with Baumann in Kuala Lumpur in January 2009, in a bid to repair the tarnished image and credibility of the FIBA. But I was shunned each time because their primary purpose was not to unite the two basketball factions in the Philippines but rather transfer FIBA recognition from the BAP to the other camp for marketing and other financial considerations.
Maybe I should want even to inform you that $10 million was missing from the FIBA coffers in early 2000, following a FIBA-sanctioned competition and cannot be traced until today. I, on many occasions, questioned them on this issue, but no answer came out of their mouths. Now, their lips are sealed forever.
What happened to the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), which had been recognized by FIBA as a member since 1936, is an example of the corrupt practice by the former FIBA Secretariat that was controlled by Baumann and Stankovic, Mafia-style.
After the Philippines, other Asian countries were also trampled and suspended by Baumann and company. Lebanon, Brazil, Russia, and Japan were the victims. They suspended the Japanese national basketball federation for the flimsy reason that the members/leaders of the federation allegedly were divided and then put up a bogeyman (someone who did not belong to the sport basketball as a player or even a leader) as its new leader when, in fact, Baumann wanted to control the marketing program of the Japanese, in anticipation of the bountiful 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which, of course, was postponed a year later.
Thank God, Baumann is no longer around for the sinister move to become a reality. And so it was with Stankovic.
You can say that Baumann was also a racist. He looked down on Asian basketball leaders, except perhaps that of those from China. He never appreciated whatever contributions that Asian leaders made unless there are financial considerations attached to them. As you can see now, of the eight commercial entities, four are from China.
Could Baumann argue with that when he was alive?
The egoistic and manipulative Baumann was the fair-haired dummy of Stankovic when he was still FIBA secretary-general. After the senile Stankovic stepped down, Baumann succeeded him and declared him with FIBA secretary-general emeritus status in exchange for his unchallenged leadership of the organization with a lifetime deal.
Baumann learned all the dirty tricks from Stankovic, conspiring and manipulating to seek the destruction of the national basketball associations in the Philippines (specifically the BAP), Lebanon, Brazil, Japan, etc.
He ruled what a dictator would – through greed, power, and dirty money.
Among Asian countries, greed became a way of life for Baumann – dictating even who should be the FIBA Asia leader and shepherd him under his wings with a rope.
A guy by the name of Hagop Khajirian was installed the permanent secretary-general of FIBA Asia (later changed to FIBA executive director-Asia under the direct control of FIBA sec-gen with a substantial monthly salary to boot instead of sharing FIBA revenues with financially-challenged FIBA national member countries) in Baumann’s bid and his lackeys to run the entire FIBA without any opposition. At worst, it was a FIBA family corporation.
Baumann once promoted the ‘One-FIBA’ theme, but that was only for show. What he really sought was total control of the basketball federations, kicking out personages who question his leadership style and don’t parrot his line such as George Vassilakopouolos from Greece (who recently was re-elected as FIBA Europe president following the death of Baumann).
When you are humiliated by the powers-that-be, one would think that you would just die and roll over and not fight back to preserve your dignity.
Not in the case of the BAP, which chose to fight back in search for only the truth shall set us free.
Kicking the BAP out of the FIBA family, in violation of the Bangkok Agreement and total disregard of due process, is Stankovic-Baumann’s greatest sin that he continues to answer before the Lord Almighty.
Allow me to quote from the great South African leader Nelson Mandela, who was incarcerated for decades before being released from prison to become his country’s president: “There is nothing more dangerous than a humiliated man.’’
Baumann and Stankovic connived to kick the BAP out.
However, another racist personality from Australian, FIBA Oceania president Robert ‘Bob’ Elphinston, who needs personal hygiene because of bad breath, also played a huge role in discrediting the BAP as the national federation in the Philippines, seeking its replacement by an unknown entity (SBP) because of marketing I bonanza it can get as money overflows not because of the finances of its leader but due to the influx of money coming from his Indonesian benefactor.
“It’s all about money, period” Hagop Khajirian, the long-serving FIBA Asia sec-gen with no mass support from other Asian leaders, once said. Calling other people's names is likened to a predator snake out to suck the blood of its prey.
This Lebanese dummy does not have the support of most FIBA Asia members, since they well know that he had been under the palm of Baumann when he was still alive and appointed to the position only because Baumann wanted to make sure the marketing program of the countries from the Asian continent can be dictated by him.
I will be honest, I do not know much about you. I do remember, however, that previous FIBA president from Africa, Mr. Abdoulaye Seye Moreau (1998-2002) once complained to me and Dr. Carl Ching (FIBA President from 2002-2006) that he was treated badly by Stankovic and his cohorts in the FIBA secretariat.
I was a member of the FIBA Youth Commission in 2007 but was dismissed by Baumann without any reason or due process when I started to expose the corrupt marketing style of the FIBA secretariat. Stankovic later offered to return me to the post but I never did for I fully aware they would just want to silence me.
Now, you ask what experiences I have had with the FIBA, I tell you I have many, and most of them are unsavory. I shall post all my communique on Facebook for the entire world to see.
I wish for a total revamp in the FIBA structure. It should not be run by one secretary-general like Baumann whose only worth is to have a contract signed by the FIBA president for him to run the FIBA of 12 years and have it renewed without any opposition. Such an act makes him under the spell of the FIBA president, whoever will the next one be.
The so-called “One-FIBA” theme should be for real, without any strings attached and any discrimination at all.
If changes or reforms are to be made in the FIBA, it has to be a more democratic organization, allowing everybody to voice everybody’s concern and not stifle the contrasting views of some. “Let the flowers bloom,” the great Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung once said.
Make it vibrant and robust by the ruling is based on issues and political patronage. If “FIBA Lives Matter,” rule it with integrity and honesty.
Protect and support the FIBA membership, and share with them what the FIBA earns in marketing. Unlike before, the funds should not go only to its loyal supporters as what happened in the past when the FIBA treasurer had been part of the FIBA conspiracy in marketing strategy.
Observe independence and stop intervening in the internal matters of a national basketball federation.
For a short narrative about the BAP: The Bangkok Agreement that signed in February 2007 was promulgated by the late-FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann and its cohorts. But before long, Baumann and his cohorts manipulated the agreement to favor the SBP leader to replace the BAP, a FIBA member since 1936.
One need not be a rocket scientist to know that the system used by Baumann to push through his agenda through conspiracy, manipulation, and deception. The contents of the Bangkok Agreement were simple to understand but the trickery Baumann disregarded the agreement. He kicked the BAP out and gave the recognition, on a silver platter, to the current group for marketing and other considerations.
That being said, don’t get me wrong. I love the FIBA, and I want the FIBA to do some internal cleansing to succeed – and not through hook or crook. I hope to see the FIBA regain its tarnished image through an honest-to-goodness program and run with credibility and accountability.
I love the sport of basketball, having been a player and a coach in the past, and an executive administrator until now.
Baumann and Stankovic are gone but their misdeeds need to be rectified for the FIBA to be great again. Don’t commit the mistakes of the past for those who repeat them are condemned to the dustbin of history.
As the Chinese philosopher, Confucius said: “what you do not want to be done to you, do not do it to others.”
In Africa, there is a concept known as ubuntu - the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world, it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others. Nelson Mandela, the great African leader, followed this golden rule.
Thank you very much.
Graham C. Lim
Secretary General, Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP);
Member, the National Press Club (NPC) in the Philippines since 1989.