Armenian National Team to play France at Armenian Basketball Classic

Sponsor Phonexa presents digital premiere of ‘Coach Rex’ documentary

LOS ANGELES, Calif.The Armenian Basketball Classic is set to take place this weekend, June 16 and 17, at the Premier America Credit Union Arena on the campus of California State University, Northridge. Reaffirming its commitment to diversity, inclusion and community, Phonexa is serving as the presenting sponsor of event.

The Armenia national basketball team — winners of the 2016 and 2022 FIBA European Championship for Small Countries — will be playing back-to-back games against France.

Armenian national basketball team wins the 2022 FIBA European Championship for Small Countries. (Photo: Facebook/Basketball Federation of Armenia)

Decades-long NBA coach Rex Kalamian, who led Armenia to a gold medal run last summer, will return for his second year as the head coach of the team for the tournament. The scrappy Armenian startup squad will play its first-ever game in the United States as they begin their quest and attempt to qualify for the 2028 Olympics. 

Phonexa is proudly sponsoring the Armenia national basketball team as part of the company’s community outreach initiative, Phonexa Cares.

“Phonexa is honored to emphasize its Armenian roots by sponsoring the basketball team. I’m a proud Armenian, as is a group of Phonexa’s staff and leadership, and we know firsthand that in order for a startup to be successful, they need to have appropriate resources and a strong supporting foundation,” said David Gasparyan, president and founder of Phonexa. 

“After meeting with Rex and hearing about the vision he’s set for the team, we’re excited to be a part of the team’s promising future. Rex is a successful leader, a consistent winner and a humble person, and those are the amazing qualities that also drive Phonexa. Our connection to Armenia serves as a testament to our unwavering belief in the country’s potential and its ability to thrive on the global stage in sports, tech and beyond.”

Kalamian has been an NBA assistant coach since 1995 for the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings, and ever since 2021, the Detroit Pistons. He has been instrumental in shaping stars like Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan, among others. Kalamian also played basketball collegiately and is known to be the only coach or player of Armenian heritage in the NBA.

“We are very excited to bring the Armenian national team to Los Angeles for the first time to train in Glendale and then to host the Armenian Basketball Classic against France,” said Kalamian. “Thanks to support from companies like Phonexa, we are able to continue to build our program and rise up in the rankings on the international stage.”

“Thousands of Armenians in Los Angeles are waiting for a great basketball celebration — the Armenian Basketball Classic,” said Artur Nazaryan, the Secretary General for the Basketball Federation of Armenia. “Our goal is for the Armenian national team to go a long way and have success, which is possible thanks to strong sponsors and partners like Phonexa.”

To celebrate the Armenian basketball team, and as part of its commitment to representing underrepresented filmmakers, Phonexa partnered with the Armenian Film Society to present the digital world premiere of the documentary “Coach Rex,” a film by Hrag Yedalian.

“I’m interested in all things Armenian, and I’m fascinated with the people who live in worlds vastly different than mine. Rex Kalamian bridged these two personal interests,” said Yedalian. “As the only Armenian-American coach in the NBA, he’s built an incredible career over a nearly three-decade span — it’s a story that needed to be told and I was incredibly honored I could help put it on film. Rex is a perfect hero for the Armenian-American community. He’s a trailblazer and I hope others in our community follow his example. I’m hopeful that audiences will find his work with the Armenian national team inspirational.”

Tickets for game one of the Armenian Basketball Classic on June 16 at 7 p.m. can be purchased here, and tickets for game two on June 17 at 5 p.m. can be purchased here. Tickets start at $49.

Broadcasts for both games will also be streamed live for free on the Vitamin TV YouTube page.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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