Podcast: Talking Euroleague Final Four, Liga Endesa with Jeff Taylor; also lamenting the Lakers, reviewing ESPN 30 for 30 doc “From Elway to Marino”

Taking the Charge podcast seriesAnother week, another “Taking the Charge” podcast. Available now through heinnews or iTunes, it’s once again lotsa talk on European basketball and other sports.

BallinEurope and heinnews this week host Jeff Taylor, Spain-based writer for Basketball World News and With Spain as the main item on the chat menu this week, we analyze the revitalized and rolling Real Madrid and possibly hurting FC Barcelona’s chances going their matchup next week. We also take a brief look at Spain’s Liga Endesa, including props to recently rechristened Laboral Kutxa, and the inevitable far-out speculation about Eurobasket 2013.

Yeah, BiE laments the Los Angeles Lakers’ demise for the final time this season and wonders if there is a Plan B in place, should the Busses not re-sign Dwight Howard. (Hint: It seems doubtful.)

Finally, for the sports movie review of the week, we do up the recently broadcast 1983 NFL Draft-centric from Elway to Marino, another strong entry in “Volume II” of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series.

Check out the entire podcast here or to subscribe from this episode ad infinitum, enter into iTunes or any podcast aggregator.

Thanks for listening and talk to you next week!

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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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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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See “Once Brothers” here (while you can)

For those of you who may have missed the fantastic ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Once Brothers” – and this wouldn’t be surprising with the ungodly scheduling of the thing on ESPN America in European time – BallinEurope presents it in its entirety below.

If you have not seen this, please check it out; the “30 for 30” series has cranked out a number of great films, including several basketball-themed products such as “Winning Time” and “Jordan Rides the Bus,” but the stunning story of friendship and loss of friendship among the awesome Team Yugoslavia squads of the late 1980s/early 90s is truly one of the best thus far – and certainly tops for an international audience.

This is courtesy YouTube user Captain Canada for posting these clips; in the past, someone has removed these videos within days after posting – BiE supposes its their right and all, but still… – so enjoy it while you can!

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Interview: Michael Tolajian, director of “Once Brothers”

Tomorrow night will see the ESPN premiere of the latest in its “30 for 30” documentary series, “Once Brothers.” This film focuses on the Yugoslavian basketball squads of 1988-1991, dream teams that included rosters filled with names such as Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja, Predrag Danilović, Stojan Vranković, and Jure Zdovc.

When the former Yugoslavia fell into chaos in a bloody civil war, team cornerstones Divac and Petrovic stopped talking, their close friendship instantly shattered in a moment of time in which Divac’s motivations were misunderstood. Despite the fact that they had entered the history books together as FIBA World Champions and again as the first two Yugoslavians to play in the NBA, they would never exchange a word again.

Petrovic was killed in a car accident following the 1992-93 and until the filming of “Once Brothers,” Divac and the other Team Yugoslavia players had never dealt with the demons of war that still affected their lives nearly two decades on.

A joint effort of ESPN and NBA Entertainment, Michael Tolajian was chosen to run the show in this director-centric series. Tolajian first came to NBA Entertainment straight out of college in 1989, “back when there was maybe 30 people working there,” he says. And while Tolajian has since formed his own production company in Los Angeles and has had a hand in many projects, including the “World Series of Poker” TV program since 2006, he always seems to come back to basketball.

Maybe most notably, Tolajian produced the 2000 documentary “Whatever Happened to Michael Ray?” for NBA Entertainment, a fantastic (and cameo-packed) look at the rise and fall of late 1970s/early 80s superstar “Sugar Ray” Richardson narrated with gusto by Chris Rock. His “I Am A Celtic” is a look at the 2006-07 Boston Three Party as seen through the eyes of legends Sam Jones, John Havlicek and Bob Cousy.

Tolajian talked with BallinEurope about “Once Brothers,” a highly personal story that encompasses much of the human experience itself – as well as present some fantastic international basketball history.

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Remembering the other two Dream Teams of 1992

On this day of 1992 Team USA’s well-deserved induction into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, BallinEurope again takes the opportunity to remember those other two squads competing in the Barcelona Games whose impact on an international level was almost as great and whose impact at home was inestimable.

What the Dream Team gave to the international game, aside from the showcasing of quite simply the best side ever assembled by a long shot,* was a new measuring stick for talent, a definition of what national basketball pictures should aspire to produce. In Croatia and Lithuania, however, the national teams in some senses had already won before the Olympic torch was lit.

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Confirmed: Divac’s “Once Brothers” in ESPN’s “30 for 30″ series

Thanks go out this morning to the folks at ESPN Communications and congratulations go out to Vlade Divac and filmmaker Michael Tolajian, whose documentary film “Jednom braća” (“Once Brothers”) has been confirmed as part of ESPN’s high-profile “30 for 30” documentary film series. The addition of Tolajian’s film to the series had been reported by Serbia media earlier this week.

The “30 for 30” series features medium-length films on a sports subject; among the notable names contributing directorial skills to the series are Barry Levinson, Steve Nash, Ice Cube and Morgan Freeman.

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“Once Brothers”: Will Divac’s Team Yugoslavia movie play on ESPN?

Drazen: Once Vlades brother

Drazen: Once Vlade's brother

An intriguing, albeit unsubstantiated, rumor hit the English-language bit of the internet today. Apparently, ESPN’s much-touted “30 for 30” series, in which independent directors create from start to finish a short documentary on a sports subject, will be taking on a film entitled “Jednom braća” (“Once Brothers”).

“Once Brothers” is a documentary film about the Team Yugoslavia squads of 1988-1991, dream teams that include a roster filled with names like Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja, Žarko Paspalj, Predrag Danilović, Stojan Vranković, Jure Zdovc, Zoran Čutura, Zdravko Radulović, Zoran Radović, Zoran Savić and Aleksandar Đorđević.

Focus of the story, like the best of the “30 for 30” series thus far, is a human element: When the former Yugoslavia fell into chaos thanks to a bloody civil war, the team’s cornerstones, namely Divac and Petrovic, “stopped talking [...]and the nationalistic rhetorics in both countries must have influenced them, just like many other friends and colleagues at the time, even family members.”

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