In this #ThrowBackThursday we take a look back at the career of one of Belgium’s top Point Guards: Ronny Bayer.
In a playing career that spanned from 1985 to 2003 it didn’t take long for the Belgian fans to fall in love with the 1m86 tall athletic point guard that made his debut as a pro with the legendary Racing Mechelen squad. And what a debut it was indeed, with averages of 10,7 ppg, 1,9 rpg, 1,9 apg & 1,0 spg he had a big impact for Mechelen and immediately needed to invest in a trophy case as a result, since he got himself a “Belgian Youngster of the Year”-award. The following years at Racing Mechelen the youngster continued to further develop his game, playing alongside legendary players in their prime like Varner, Raivio, Hartshorne, Samaey & Struelens. By the time he was 24 he was awarded the “Belgian Player of the Year”-award and had already collected 3 Belgian Championship titles and 3 Belgian Cup titles.
He then signed with Basketbalclub Oostende who were trying to stop the dominance of Mechelen in the Belgian competition. And although it took a while, he eventually got them there in the 1994-’95 season as Oostende conquered the coveted title, ending a 6-year streak from Mechelen (and in a way its existence as they fused with Sobabee to form RB Antwerpen). With Mechelen now out of the picture Spirou Basket Charleroi became their biggest rivals in the Belgian league. It is a time I remember very fondly and vividly: the many high-charged duels, the rowdy crowds, the phenomenal backcourt duo of Bayer/Jaumin along with Mitchell and Robinson duking it out with Desy, Cleymans and Ellis (and with a young Duke Tshomba taking it all in). Wonderful times that truly shaped my love for the game.
With his excellent play-making abilities, his long-range bombs, his pull-up jumpers and his overall tenacity Bayer quickly became a fixture of the Belgian Lions all throughout the ’90’s and received plenty of international acclaim in the process: in 1995 (All-European Team) and 1996 (EuroStar West) he was each time selected to the FIBA All-Star Game. After 9 seasons with Oostende (with a Championship title and 3 more Belgian Cup titles added to his record) Bayer then moved on to Belfius Mons-Hainaut for the next 3 seasons and eventually ended his professional playing career with Crelan Okapi Aalstar in second division.
We dove into the BRT archives and compiled this little highlight reel as a salute to one of our favorite players who helped shape Belgian Basketball.