In recognition of the fact that success today is only built on the hard work of those before us, Euroleague Basketball would like to honor the memory of one of European basketball's most important figures of the past century, the late Mr. Gianluigi Porelli. Henceforth, the honor given by Euroleague Basketball to each season's most outstanding executive will be known as the Gianluigi Porelli Euroleague Executive of the Year award. Mr. Porelli, a founder and former president of the Union of European Basketball Leagues (ULEB), passed away in 2009 after decades committed to growing the sport of basketball in Italy and throughout Europe.
The Gianluigi Porelli Euroleague Executive of the Year award is one of the competition’s two annual post-season honors along with the Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy. The award seeks to honor the men who make their efforts off the court and sometimes behind the scenes to build the clubs of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague into success stories both in basketball results and marketing achievements.
"Gigi was a basketball visionary who always made decisions ahead of his time," Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu said. "He built a club model based on economic stability, on sporting competitiveness and on solid roots in his community. We learned a lot of things from him that are still being implemented today, but above all we learned that the most important concept for a league is the union of its clubs in order to make a project grow as a collective endeavor always. It was an honor to be able to work alongside Gigi and it’s satisfying now to pay homage to him through this trophy.”
Mr. Porelli served as president of Virtus Bologna from 1968 to 1989, during which time he built the Italian club into a standard-bearer of European basketball success, winning 16 domestic titles in that era and reaching the continental final in 1981. Under his leadership, Virtus also solidified a fan base and devoted following that led to Bologna becoming known as Basket City. Mr. Porelli was a signing founder of the Italian League (Serie A) in 1970 and later joined in conceiving and forming ULEB in 1991 along with Eduardo Portela. Both were also the guiding founders of Euroleague Basketball. Mr. Porelli was the ULEB president for eight years and was its honorary president at the time of his passing. He was also an Italian League vice-president from 1984 to 1992 and filled the same role for the Italian Basketball Federation from 1992 to 1999. From 1998 to 2002, Mr. Porelli was president of both the FIBA World and FIBA Europe legal commissions. He was also an elected member of the Italian Basketball Hall of Fame.