Local athletes win big for Armenia in FIBA European Championship for Small Countries

You can call them Armenia’s dream team.

"It was just a fabulous experience to win the gold medal for our country, that being Armenia, so I mean no better experience."

Andre Mkrtchyan Spight is from Glendale.

He’s been part of Armenia’s National Basketball team for 11 years.

"I can't even explain how electric the building was in the SADA Cup games, it was amazing and that fan base really pushed us to go get this gold medal because I mean without them, we didn't have as much motivation, as we would, without them… they gave us all of that energy… this was for them," said Mkrtchyan Spigh.

The players say the edge they had this year to win a world champion was without a doubt thanks to their coach – Rex Kalamian.

"Coach Rex and also his assistant coach P… they were amazing. I mean the professionalism was an all-time high with them being in the MBA, of course, so professionalism and just everything was amazing," said Mkrtchyan Spigh.

Kalamian is an LA native and the current assistant coach of the Detroit Pistons. 

In the past, he has helped coach the Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.

"For me personally I'm very excited I'm 100% Armenian… my grandmother is a genocide survivor so winning anything for Armenian a team sport to me has a special significance to it," said Kalamian.

"There was just an avalanche of excitement from our fans and every game, the fans got younger and younger and the children started coming out and it was just it was just a great event," Kalamian added.

Coach Kalamian says this win is all about the kids— and inspiring the next generation of aspiring basketball players.

"Basketball is on the rise for Armenia and which is very important because so many kids in Southern California, Armenian kids in Southern California, play basketball and it's such a big sport a big part of so many children's lives of the Armenian youth that I think it should also be the same way in Armenia."