Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. The day is finally here (presumably) and has any Eurocup opening day game been filled with more intrigue and spectator interest than tonight’s Beşiktaş Cola Turka-KK Hemofarm Stada match? BallinEurope thinks not. To get things started on the day of Allen Iverson’s European debut, BiE presents a few soundbites.
• If/when the memorabilia collectors hear of it, records will fall. Featured on the cover of what will certainly become the biggest-selling sports club fan magazine of all-time in Turkey is none other than Mr. Answer himself. (Though the illustration actually more resembles Chris Rock … perhaps it’s a special American comedy issue?)
Released to newsstands yesterday (and perhaps already gone) was the November issue of youth publication Yarvu Kartel or “Little Eagle,” so named after the Beşiktaş Cola Turka team mascot. And, hey, just in case stories on A.I. aren’t interesting enough for the kiddies, there’s also Sudoku!
• How’s life in Turkey treating him so far? Iverson yesterday gave an interview to Euroleague TV on the subject (after practice, titter titter):
• Iverson’s official website has posted a handful of pictures from last week’s introduction ceremony, including a bunch of the new no. 4 taking token jump shots to oohs and aahs; there’s also a shot of Iverson with that same dude who bookended him at the Oyak Renault game – who is that guy? His street lingo translator?
• Here’s Hemofarm captain Miljan Pavkovic, the player who’ll be assigned to man up on Iverson at the defensive end, on tonight’s game: “I didn’t even believe he would sign for Beşiktaş. It didn’t made much sense that a basketball star like that should be on his way to Europe. We discussed his arrival and once we realised it was actually going to happen, the first reaction was genuine shock. … Once the news spread, people instantly began to call us and try to book tickets for the game, which was still more than a month away.
“[Iverson] is arguably the greatest player to have played in the Eurocup and that’s we will be moving to the arena. We have to beat Partizan’s Euroleague attendance record [laughs].
“… I don’t think it will be only me who is going to defend him, but also other players in our team will be in charge of Iverson. For me, it will be a great chance to be direct rivals with him and I will have additional motivation.
“I get nervous at training sessions and when we play some easier league matches. I try as hard as I can to get positives from every situation. There will certainly be additional adrenaline and it will only rise as the match approaches. Our job will be to do our best, as we will be up against a top class of a player.”
• The bookmakers have spoken as well. Bodog had – at least until yesterday – offered three Allen Iverson “specials” for punters. The proposition bet “Will Allen Iverson be on the Beşiktaş roster for the entire 2010-2011 Season?” had lines of 2/1 on “no” and 1/3 on “yes,” while the over/under on Mr. Answer’s scoring average for Beşiktaş this season was set at 20 points per game.
Positive stuff there, but a third offering might not be so kindly thought of: “Will Allen Iverson be on an NBA roster for game 1 of the 2011-2012 NBA season?” was posted with long odds of 7/2 on “yes.”
Incidentally, as for the actual game, the sportsbooks have Beşiktaş as a 6.5-point favorite over KK Hemofarm Stada in Turkey tonight.
• Incidentally, some of us haven’t forgotten Beşiktaş’ current stud, Mire Chatman:
• How to watch. Right, so those of us on The Continent knew when Euroleague and Eurosport officials agreed on terms to broadcast Eurocup basketball games from November to April that these matches would be among the best programming the generally blah station had to offer – and that was well before Beşiktaş’ Great Experiment was even embryonic.
Both Eurosport and Eurosport 2 are listed as broadcasters of Eurocup games tonight, so presumably the bigger station will be airing Beşiktaş-Hemofarm; good news for a wide swathe of Continental viewers, then, as the station typically comes in basic cable TV packages.
For those outside of Europe, a number of live streams may be watched online but these are merely serviceable. BiE counted four safe stations for Eurosport and Eurosport 2 broadcasting (albeit not in English); no downloads are necessary, but fullscreen viewing is sadly not possible. Try Free Watch TV Online, EPC TV, Online Channels or A Jones.
To buy a nice clean Eurosport live stream from the station itself at €4.90 (about $6.75) per month, click here. (No, BiE isn’t shilling anything; strictly passing on the word without sponsorship deals.)
However, BiE may have a few more tricks up my sleeve for free streaming, so watch this space as the day progresses … meanwhile, Happy A.I. Day, everyone!