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Feb
0

Poll: What was your favorite basketball movie of 2012?

BallinEurope killed much time the past two weeks in catching up with basketball-centric movie releases of 2012, and subsequently devoted much verbiage to these films on this site. So now it’s your turn, and who doesn’t love an online poll? Tell us: What was your favorite hoops flick of the past year? Vote below and please feel free to elaborate on your vote in the comments section — BiE looooooooooves talking sports movies…

What was your favorite basketball movie released in 2012?

  • The Other Dream Team (66%, 21 Votes)
  • other (9%, 3 Votes)
  • NBA Films' The Dream Team (6%, 2 Votes)
  • The Iran Job (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Benji (from ESPN "30 for 30" Volume 2) (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Thunderstruck (7%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

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Feb
2

Basketball Movies in 2012: The winner of the Oscar (Robertson) for Best Full-Length Documentary is…

Other Dream Team posterCongratulations from BallinEurope go out this morning to Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Day-Lewis, the Argo team, Jennifer Lawrence (swoon) and the other winners of Academy Awards last night. And now, it’s decision time here.

The annual bestowing of BallinEurope’s Oscar (Robertson) Awards for basketball excellence in 2012 has seen Thunderstruck, The Dream Team and The Harlem Globetrotters take awards in their individual categories, leaving the prize for “Best Full-Length Documentary” still to be awarded — and lemme tell ya, BiE has spent way too much time thinking it over this weekend.

The no-brainer nominee (and well worthy) is the long-awaited The Other Dream Team, which was finally released in 2012 after more than two years of buildup and production. And damn, was it worth the wait.

For those somehow not in the know on this film, The Other Dream Team tells the story of the 1992 Lithuanian men’s basketball team, a squad essentially assembled from scratch, rather like its home nation itself in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse. As with their Team USA counterparts in that fateful year (not to mention the silver-winning Croatia and even the fourth-place “Unified Team”), the scope of Team Lithuania’s story is huge. Unlike The Dream Team’s run to immortality in Barcelona, though, this team’s podium finish carried all the weight of history with more than a touch of good-humored wackiness.

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Feb
6

Basketball Movies in 2012: The winner of the Oscar (Robertson) for Television Documentary is…

On this day/evening of the 85th Academy Awards over in Hollywood, BallinEurope in turn celebrates excellence in basketball-centric films of 2012. Third of the four Oscar (Robertson) Awards to be given here is for the category of Best Television Documentary.

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Feb
3

The 2012 Oscar (Robertson) Awards: Lifetime Achievement in Basketball Movies

In tribute/homage/ripoff to that movie-award ceremony thing going on in Los Angeles this evening PST, BallinEurope bestows its own prizes for the best in basketball movies released and/or screened during the year that was — as BiE refers to them, the Oscar (Robertson)s.

Second of the four Oscar (Robertson) Awards for 2012 is the result of a new wrinkle — and a couple of salient reminders of what certain folks have given to the game of basketball. BallinEurope’s new Oscar (Robertson) for Lifetime Achievement in Basketball Movies goes to The Harlem Globetrotters.

Known worldwide for their standing as the winningest franchise of all-time, for their status as international goodwill ambassadors, for serving as the last high-profile barnstorming team in any sport, the Globetrotters have also amassed quite the impressive CV of credits in the movie game as well … at least before the 1980s. For Globetrotters in the mass media, there’s

– Columbia Pictures’ “The Harlem Globetrotters” (1950), a fiction about a baller who drops out of college to join the squad;

– the sequel “Go, Man, Go!” released in 1954;

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Feb
3

Basketball Movies in 2012: The winner of the Oscar (Robertson) for Best Full-Length Feature is…

It’s that time of year again in Hollywood as America’s movie-making industry tonight rolls out the red carpet for the Academy Awards, its annual celebration of excellence in film. In parallel, BallinEurope likewise awards (and by “awards,” BiE here means to say “writes up a column and pretends to gift an utterly imaginary trophy to the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar”) the Oscar (Robertson) every year for the best in basketball movies. Previous winners include:

2009. Who Shot Mamba?

2010. Best Full-Length Feature: The Saints of Mt. Christopher. Best Overall: Once Brothers

2011. On the Shoulders of Giants

Assessing year 2012 in basketball movies in short: Wow. In terms of sheer numbers, the past year blew away recent crops in a real boon the cinema junkies among basketball fans. Not only did ESPN’s “30 for 30” series debut a half-dozen quality roundball-focused documentaries, 20th anniversary celebrations of the Barcelona Olympic Games spawned a pair of films charting two of the most memorable teams in us older guys’ lifetime while Hollywood attempted to launch the acting career of Kevin Durant. And the year of Ben Affleck’s Argo also saw release of an ambitious independent film about an American playing ball in Iran

As a result, BiE’s widening the playing field a bit for 2013 — you know, kinda like how the Academy did four years ago so that a bit more mediocrity could creep into the “Best Picture” category and snubs of Quentin Tarantino would be made all the more obvious. With so much to celebrate in 2012 basketball movies, BiE awards four virtual trophies this time ’round. So without further ado, the first envelope, please!

Best Full-Length Feature: Thunderstruck. The best review BiE read on KD’s star movie turn read, “I have to say this is the best kids’ movie starring the greatest basketball player of his time since Space Jam. The only problem is that this is the only kids’ movie starring the greatest basketball player of his time since Space Jam.”

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Oct
1

Podcast: From Euroleague to China to the cinema; plus interview with Garret Siler

It’s Wednesday once again and thus time for another episode in the “Taking the Charge” podcast series presented by heinnews and BallinEurope.com. Yes, it’s another gabfest loaded with topical news and views plus interviews, music and Os Davis’ movie recommendation of the week. The episode program goes something like this.

• Hein and BiE weigh in on a pair of destiny-shaping events in Europe, namely the exit of David Blatt from Team Russia and the sad decision in FIBA’s arbitration of the KK Zagreb/Bilbao Basket contract dispute over Dario “The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia” Saric;

• A brief look at the recent fortunes of four Euroleague contenders – Zalgiris Kaunas, CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and Real Madrid – and their changing landscapes early on in the 2012-13 season;

• A talk with Chinese basketball-centric NiuBBall editor/Beijing-based American expat Jon Pastuszek about Tracy McGrady, the NBA influence in the big country, Panathinaikos’ machinations to attract Chinese talent last summer and certain oddities within the CBA rulebook;

• An interview with former Augusta State University/Phoenix Suns big man Garret Siler, who recently returned to China and the league which granted him his first top-division job out of college; and

• A review of “Who Shot Mamba?” an independent movie which long-time readers may recall BiE gushing about to Brian Spaeth’s great embarrassment, doubtless.

To hear the entirety of “Taking the Charge,” episode seven, please click here. And talk to you next week!

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Sep
0

Podcast: Peeking at the Euroleague, riffing on Hecking, interviewing The Iran Jobbers

Now up and running is episode two in the Taking the Charge podcast series, a gabfest brought to you by heinnews and BallinEurope. On the menu over there is a nice spread of basketball-related matters, including:

• a look at recently-run tournaments in Germany: the 2012 Domreiter Cup in Nürnberg with defending Euroleague/Greek League champs Olympiacos besting Brose Baskets Bamberg, Maccabi Tel Aviv and BC Khimki; and the Beko BBL Cup, which saw 2011-12 Euroleague runners-up CSKA Moscow top Bayern München, Beşiktaş JK and Žalgiris Kaunas. (In advance, BiE will say that whoa, eight interesting storylines really demonstrates the allure of the big league: fresh, dramatic storylines that change week to week…);

• some riffing on FC Nuremberg football coach Dieter Hecking’s, um, interesting comments of last weekend and the German basketball federation’s response; and

• a lengthy and fascinating interview with Till Schauder and Kevin Sheppard, producer/director and subject, respectively, of the excellent newly-released documentary The Iran Job. (BiE’ll have a bit more on this later for the more textually-inclined.)

Enjoy the podcast and stay informed about our new releases and comment to your heart’s content via our spiffy Facebook page. Like us! We love your likes!

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Sep
1

Movie Review: The Iran Job (or The Fish-Out-of-Water that Saved Shiraz)

Okay, so not even FIBA considers Iran part of The Continent, but BallinEurope today would nevertheless like to pass on a recommendation of a great basketball movie to watch out for. Entitled The Iran Job, the documentary follows U.S. Virgin Islands player Kevin Sheppard, a self-described journeyman with tours in China, Brazil, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Argentina to his credit, as he embarks on a season in the mysterious Middle Eastern nation.

As it turns out, Sheppard’s in Iran for not just any season, but that slate of games set in 2008-09 – significant calendar years for both his native USA and his country of residence. And as it turns out, The Iran Job is no typical American fish-out-of-water basketball story.

Just the word “Iran” is a hot-button issue in the ‘States (and, apparently, its protectorates); knowing the concept behind the film, reading the title alone takes us one step into Sheppard’s world. Upon announcing his professional plans, his mother is scared. His girlfriend is shocked. And it’s all set against a pastiche of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” taunts and Hillary Clinton’s “we would destroy Iran” demagoguery.

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Feb
6

And the Oscar (Robertson) Goes To: Basketball Movies in 2011

Meanwhile, over in Hollywoodland … to no cineaste’s surprise, the silent film The Artist was named “Best Motion Picture of the Year” at the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony. While Tinseltown may have had a decent, if not mind-blowing, twelve months of production in 2011 – as evidenced by Woody Allen taking the “Best Original Screenplay” award for Midnight in Paris with his perhaps 24th- or 25th-best ever script – the year in basketball movies was disappointing to say the least.

In hindsight, no real possibility existed for the 2011 crop of hoops flicks to match the previous year’s output in terms of either quantity or quality, what with ESPN in the midst of its “30 for 30” documentary series. Eight basketball documentaries (nine if you include June 17, 1994) mostly well worth watching – spearheaded by the most excellent Once Brothers – were released in ’10 alongside the barely-seen Saints of Mt. Christopher. Plus, BallinEurope got to crack jokes at Common’s expense while enjoying fave Queen Latifah thanks to the essentially NBA-sponsored Hollywood flick Just Wright – who remembers that one?

And, of course, the artistic achievement of the 2009 tour de force, Who Shot Mamba? by former Yahoo Sports blogger/general comic genius at large has yet to be matched by any human endeavor, so one can’t fault the international film community for not approaching this one.

But come on! By BiE’s count, there were four major basketball film productions crafted in the year 2011. A pair of European documentaries saw no release outside their native countries (more on these below), while the compelling-sounding “Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story” is apparently still seeking a distributor. How is this possible? Just check out the official synopsis from producer/director Franklin Martin:

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Oct
0

Documentary to capture Andrew Albicy hoop-dreaming

Call it “Hoop Dreams 2”: Director Ayité Ajavon has announced production of the documentary “Un rêve à construire” (perhaps best translated as “Building a Dream”), featuring as main subject the 2010 FIBA U20 European Championship MVP Andrew Albicy’s pursuit of someday playing in the NBA.

The now 21-year-old is currently playing for Paris-Levallois in the LNB and was recently seen playing for Team France in the 2011 EuroBasket tournament, on which he was Les Bleus’ youngest player.

The film will reportedly be debuting on Bemavo TV, a website devoted to talents represented by the Bemavo Corporation agency. Official trailer runs below.

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