MOSCOW — Sergei Belov, the Soviet basketball great who helped his team beat the United States in the epic 1972 Olympic final in Munich, died Thursday. He was 69.
His death was announced by CSKA Moscow, the team he played with for 13 seasons. The club said Belov died in the Ural Mountains city of Perm, where he coached a local team. No cause was given.
Belov scored 20 points in the 51-50 win over the U.S. in Munich, a gold-medal game in which the Russians scored the winning points as time ran out. The clock had been reset in the final seconds after the Americans thought they had won. The Americans refused to accept their silver medal
Belov, a shooting guard, was widely considered one of the best non-American players of his generation. He also won three Olympic bronze medals — 1968, 1976, 1980 — and led the Soviets to two world championship titles.
Belov lit the Olympic cauldron at the 1980 Games in Moscow and coached the Russian national team from 1993-99 before moving to Perm to coach the Ural-Great basketball team.
"World basketball has lost a true legend today," Jordi Bertomeu, president and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, said. "Mr. Belov was a great figure in European basketball's history and an example of excellence who helped paved the way for the growth of the sport we all love."