Global basketball is a far-flung enterprise with 213 national federations and complexities that don't easily mesh into a single entity. Successful leaders, especially at the top, are vital to create meaningful bonds, improve governance and deal with problems.

And some leaders are irreplaceable. That much is certain.

Patrick Baumann knew how to get things done. With distinction and determination, he guided FIBA, basketball’s world governing body, as its secretary general from 2002 until his death on Oct. 13 in Buenos Aires while attending the Youth Olympics. A heart attack ended Baumann’s life at age 51, and the world of basketball is mourning his passing.