Flashback: Pau Gasol of FC Barcelona, 2000 ACB Finals

Courtesy the awesome Dejan Body (Where does he get those wonderful clips?), below the break runs an incredible blast from the past in a compilation of clips from the 2000 ACB finals featuring a 19-year-old named Pau Gasol, then in his second year with the big club.

Gasol’s FC Barcelona, which also included the just-about 20-year-old Juan Carlos Navarro, ultimately fell to Aleksandar Đorđević and Alberto Angulo’s Real Madrid in five games.

(Has it really been that long…?)

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Vlade Divac: The BallinEurope/YouTube career retrospective

BallinEurope sends out hearty congratulations to Serbian great Vlade Divac on his nomination for possible entry into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s “Class of 2012.”

While Divac may be known as a famous trivia answer (“Who was traded for Kobe Bryant?”) or by the dreaded “F-word” (i.e. “flopper” as used in – really – this Los Angeles Times blog entry detailing the story of Vlade’s honor), this nomination shows a lifetime of accomplishment on the basketball court. Heck, in the NBA alone, Divac topped 13,000 points, 9000 rebounds, 3000 assists and 1500 blocked shots over 16 seasons. And then there were those “Dream Team” years with Team Yugoslavia and the glorious early days with KK Partizan in the 1980s, highlighted by Korać Cup titles and Divac’s “Mr. Europa” trophy.

Today, BallinEurope pays tribute to a personal favorite on the occasion in the best way possible: With a YouTube-laden rundown of his long and memorable career! Check out Divac’s progress through turns with Partizan Belgrade, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, the “Dream Team” Yugoslavian squads, and of course KK Crvena Zvezda during the 1999 NBA player lockout…

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One of us: Benetton Treviso fans loving Brian Scalabrine’s success

Whether you know him as Scal, Mr. Hustle or the White Mamba, Benetton Treviso fans recognize new signee Brian Scalabrine as “one of us” – and with good reason. The former Boston Celtic is enjoying a banner year with the Eurocup side and has established himself as a bona fide team leader in Serie A play. BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini, takes a look at the phenomenon.

It is something of an informal tradition for Italian basketball fans to sing songs and chants to support their teams during basketball games, and a very short while passed before fans of Benetton Treviso dedicated a personal chant to Brian Scalabrine. They immediately opted for “Scalabrine uno di noi!” (“Scalabrine is one of us”).

Scalabrine is paying back his new fans’ warm welcome. On Sunday, he was decisive in the Treviso’s victory against Cantù: despite scoring only six points (though with only one missed shot; Scal was 2-of-3 in the game), he grabbed 15 rebounds, dished three assists and provided plenty of smart plays that do not go in the statistics. In the previous match against Avellino, Scal accounted for 18 points with eight field goals out of ten attempts.

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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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