Sergei Ivanov, Sergei Kushchenko and Leo29 basketball mascot© RIA Novosti. Alexey Filippov
06 June 2015

Leopard takes Nizhny Novgorod basketball player’s name

On 5 June, during the VTB United League's second finals' game halftime, Sergei Ivanov, the league's Honorary President and Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation, and Sergei Kushchenko, the league's President, announced the voting results to name the Far Eastern leopard known as Leo 29M. Buba received the most votes. The name Buba was proposed by the head coach of Nizhny Novgorod basketball team Ainars Bagackis to honour the team's player, Yevgeny Baburin.

Sergei Ivanov signed a certificate on naming the leopard. The name will be used for the league's mascot, as well as for its prototype, a leopard from Land of the Leopard National Park. "I would like to thank all basketball fans for their love of wildlife and for taking part in this initiative," he said during the halftime show.

Leo 29M is not the first wild cat with a sports-oriented name. The national park already has Valera, a leopard named by Admiral hockey club players to honour the memory of Valery Kharlamov, a legendary Soviet hockey star.

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