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Ilmar Kullam

Full name: Ilmar Kullam
Other name(s): Ilmar Avgustovich Kullam, Ильмар Августович Куллам
Gender: Male
Height: 6-3 (191 cm)
Born: June 15, 1922 in Tartu, Tartumaa, Estonia
Died: November 2, 2011 in Tartu, Tartumaa, Estonia
Affiliations: ÜSK Tartu/Kalev Tallinn
Country: URS Soviet Union
Sport: Basketball

Related Olympians: Father-in-law of Heino Puuste.

Medals: 1 Silver (1 Total)

Biography

Ilmar Kullam or Professor Basketball, as he was commonly known in Estonia, is considered one of Estonia’s best point guards and basketball coaches. Kullam took up basketball in 1938 with Kalev Tartu and played there until World War II. After the war, he played for Kalev Tallinn from 1945-47, ÜSK Tartu from 1947-56 and EPA Tartu from 1956-60. With ÜSK Tartu, Kullam won the Soviet title in 1949, silver in 1950 and bronze in 1951. In 1945 he won another bronze at the Soviet Championships as a member of the Kalev Tallinn team. He also won the Eight Cities Cup (predecessor to the Soviet Cup in basketball) in 1941, 1946 and 1950, and played on winning teams at the Estonian SSR championships in 1948, 1956-57 and 1960. Internationally, he played on the Soviet national team from 1947-54 and won a silver medal at the 1952 Olympic Games, European titles in 1947, 1951 and 1953 and World Student Games golds in 1949 and 1951.

After retiring from playing in 1960, Kullam worked as the head coach of Kalev Tartu and the Estonian SSR team from 1960-75, earning himself the nickname of Professor Basketball because of his academic coaching style in which he made multiple innovations to offensive strategies that are still in use today, with slight modifications, by various Estonian basketball clubs and the Estonian national team. As a coach with Kalev Tartu, Kullam won silver at the 1967 Soviet Championships and bronze at the 1971 Soviet Championships. From 1978-87, he was the head coach of TRÜ Tartu basketball women’s team and at the same time he was the head coach of the Estonian SSR women’s team. Kullam was selected to the Estonian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. His wife Valentina was also an international level basketball player, winning at the European Championships in 1952 and 1954 and Universiade gold in 1951. His daughter Oksana also played at the national level, winning an Estonian SSR title in 1975 and played for a time on the Soviet national women’s junior team. In 1979, Oksana married the Estonian javelin thrower Heino Puuste.

Results

Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Men's Basketball Soviet Union URS 2 Silver

Men's Basketball

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result PTS
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Soviet Union URS Final Round Match 1/2 2 1952-08-02 USA 36, URS 25 6
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Soviet Union URS Semi-Finals Match #1 1 1952-07-31 URS 61, URU 57 4
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Soviet Union URS Group B Match #2 2 1952-07-28 USA 86, URS 58 1
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Soviet Union URS Group B Match #4 1 1952-07-29 URS 54, BRA 49 3
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Soviet Union URS Group B Match #6 1 1952-07-30 URS 78, CHI 60 1
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Soviet Union URS Group B Match #1 1 1952-07-25 URS 74, BUL 46 3
1952 Summer 30 Helsinki Basketball Soviet Union URS Group B Match #6 1 1952-07-27 URS 71, MEX 62 2
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