Los Angeles Men’s Basketball Team Is Pan-Armenian Games Champions


The members of the team with Armenia’s President Serge Sargisian after their victory

YEREVAN — On Sunday, August 21, the Los Angeles men’s basketball team defeated Sochi, Russia, 93-86, in overtime, in a highly-contested championship game in Yerevan, Armenia to win the fifth Pan Armenian Games championship. The game was televised via satellite live in Armenia and the diaspora. Approximately 1,100 fans were in attendance at Miga Arena for the finals, including President Serge Sargisian.

Sargisian presented each Los Angeles player and coach with their gold medal as well as the championship cup. Mike Danielian, Los Angeles basketball team captain, scored 49 points in the championship game, tying the individual championship game scoring record set in 2003.

Twenty-four teams participated from Armenia, Artsakh, Russia, Australia, Austria, Canada, Syria, Egypt, Georgia, Turkey, Argentina, France, Lebanon, Iran and the United States from August 13-21. More than 3,200 athletes from more than 100 cities worldwide participated in 10 different sports competitions.

The Pan-Armenian Games are organized by the government of Armenia. Sargisian stated, “The Pan- Armenian Games are an extremely important event which is meant to unite Armenians from various sports across the globe. It helps the strengthening of Armenia- Diaspora ties.”

In the preliminary rounds, Los Angeles defeated Aleppo (Syria), Stepanakert (Artsakh) and Tehran (Iran). Sixteen of the 24 teams advanced to the play-off round. As a result, Los Angeles played Aleppo (Syria) again in round 16, followed by Cairo (Egypt) in the quarterfinals. Los Angeles then had to face Tehran (Iran) in a re-match in the semi-finals. Sochi (Russia) defeated Glendale in the other semi-final game, which prevented the anticipated Glendale-Los Angeles matchup in the finals. Los Angeles won seven straight games in an eight-day period.

The members of the gold-medal-winning Los Angeles basketball team members are: Artin Adjamian, Aret Akbork, Vahram Amayakyan, Zack Armen, Mike Danielian, Ara Demirjian, Kevork Demirjian, Eric Halejian, Andrei Taniel Oztemel and Ara Vartanian.

Carl Bardakian, a former NCAA Div. I assistant basketball coach and current United States representative to the Basketball Federation of Armenia, is the Los Angeles head coach. Zorik Isajane, Glendale College assistant basketball coach, and Levon Altiparmakian, New York- New Jersey Armenian Churches Sports Association basketball representative, served as assistant coaches.