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Basketball World Cup of Beer: The Final – USA vs France +++ Tight knit Iceland too much for Great Britain +++ EuroBasket 2015: Round-up and Highlights from Wednesday’s qualifiers +++ FIBA dropped a sweet promo for the World Cup +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer – Bronze Medal Match +++ Rudy gets iced, the internet rejoices +++ FIBA World Cup Preview – Group C +++ CSKA Moscow’s Kyle Hines and Sonny Weems take the ice bucket challenge +++ Tony Parker does ice bucket challenge but his friend can’t use a camera phone +++ Basketball World Cup of Beer: Semi Finals +++
Jan
14

Oldboy in London: New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee checks out O2, tweets with fans, disses Brooklyn Nets

Spike LeeUnfortunately criminally underrated in the greater popular consciousness as a film director (to wit: why are films like Clockers, The 25th Hour, Summer of Sam more well-remembered and -respected?), Spike Lee nevertheless enjoys tremendous notoriety as the world’s biggest, most visible New York Knicks fan – and as a fantastic Tweeter as well.

Spike will naturally be sitting courtside for the Knicks’ game against the Detroit Pistons in London’s O2 Arena tonight to support “Africa’s team” (He just said that). And this morning UK time, the director paid heed to the Knickerbocker nation and his own fans by taking to Twitter; BallinEurope today rounds up Spike’s mass media and social media foray…

The verdict on London in general after the first 24 hours or so? Tweeteth the Spike: “London is HIP.” A few more immediate impressions may be seen below, as Spike got plenty of facetime before international media.

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Nov
9

US Presidential Election 2012: America’s basketball diplomat hits hardwood for last-minute votes (plus Official Fearless Prediction™)

Love him or hate him after nearly four years in office, one thing is for certain: Barack Obama is the first basketball president – a fact that could curry lots of favor with Generation X and Y voters in a celebrity-charged election.

Sure, Bill Clinton was lucky enough to enjoy his home-state University of Arkansas’ 1994 victory in the NCAA Tournament and play host to the Dream Team in ’92. Sure, guys like George W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon were often more erudite when discussing sports than, you know, politics (check out “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72” for Hunter S. Thompson’s interview with Tricky Dick, an interview which Thompson was told could only be about NFL football). And the Kennedys surely won popularity points for their picturesque family touch-football games.

However, no US president has leveraged sports fandom on an international scale like Obama. (Check out BallinEurope contributing writer Enrico Cellini’s piece on his pet project, tracking Obama’s basketball diplomacy moves.) And the president’s preference for basketball represents the rise of the NBA and to some extent NCAA hopes during David Stern’s reign as the big league’s commissioner.

(Is it any coincidence that Obama came to professional prominence in that hometown of the 1990s’ Incredibulls? BiE thinks not.)

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Mar
2

Rubio out ‘til 2012-13; options and outlook for Team Spain, Minnesota Timberwolves [Updated]

A moment of silence, please, in memory of Ricky Rubio’s 2011-12 season.

After Rubio suffered an injury in Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves fans held their collective breath, and the Human YouTube Highlight Clip got another video added to his virtual collection – one that La Pistola certainly never wanted to see.

Yesterday, the team was forced to announce that Rubio in fact had torn his left ACL, an injury that ends his NBA season with a surprising Timberwolves side who’d gotten as high as no. 8 in the Western Conference. Worse yet for international hoops fans, Rubio will miss the entire 2012 Olympic Games, a bit of blow to Team Spain.

National team head coach Sergio Scariolo was quoted on Saturday morning as stating that “I woke up to the bad news this morning, although there remains the slight hope that it isn’t too serious.” Of course, it ultimately was.

Spain-based website Te Interesa contemplates Sergio Scariolo’s moves for the Olympics, with Jose Calderon suddenly thrust from a platoon role to full-time starter. The website also reckons that Real Madrid’s Sergio Llull might be shifted to the no. 2 spot, while Team Spain will certainly have to deemphasize the playmaker role – the latter of which BiE figures is a strategy tantamount to death in international ‘ball.

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Dec
10

The Eurocentric 2011-12 NBA Eastern Conference preview (plus Official Fearless Predictions™)

While basketball lovers are getting something of a Christmas gift this season in the December 25 NBA opening day – BiE says “something of” there because this belated debut is kinda like your parents saying, “Well, we’ll just give you your birthday gift at Christmas.” When your birthday’s in October – BallinEurope would like to add to the virtual bounty under the tree with our annual Eurocentric NBA preview.

Here’s BallinEurope’s predominant working theory for at least the first two months of this season: The teams with more critical players who did a stint in Europe (or South America, for that matter) during the lockout will jump out to the best starts. And with a shortened season increasing the importance of every individual game, imagine what a, say, 17-5 could mean in the long-term – for a European equivalent of this model, how ‘bout that CSKA Moscow turbo boost?

So Kevin Garnett’s complaining that the preseason is too short … guys like Deron Williams have already been in real-game situations. Manu Ginobili is well rested but not “in basketball shape?” The Danilo Gallinaris, Mehmet Okurs and even the Gasol Brothers of the basketball world are set to go. More back-to-back games than ever before in NBA history? Hey, perhaps those two-a-days European coaches are so notorious for assigning will have readied these NBAers well more than the fortnight many of their colleagues are getting.

BiE would even argue that latecomers such as Tiago Splitter and late-peakers like Serge Ibaka are surely few steps ahead of the many American ballers who did not take Continental clubs up on even the most outrageous of offers. It is with this dictum in mind that this preview and Official Fearless Predictions™ were written. Today, the Eastern Conference.

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May
0

Baron Davis wants to tweet and Facebook your beard

Now here’s a tweet that demands attention from all over the world. Baron Davis first posted the following appeal to the hirsute during the Euroleague Final Four – or at least that’s when BiE discovered it – so take note, all you bearded ones on The Continent and we hope to see you on Facebook soon. (BiE thinks it’s this group that Baron’s referring to…)

So goes the tweet: “Make sure to Post pics of your beard with the #BeardHOF tag to me & @BoomsBeard to catch yourself n the #BeardHOF album on Facebook!

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Sep
0

Best of the (basketball) net: Double-sized two-week edition

The dream is alive (photo courtesy SadFans.com)

The dream is alive (photo courtesy SadFans.com)

Right. Because this column did not appear last weekend due to the tsunami of Eurobasket 2009 games, this week’s Best of The (Basketball) Net includes good stuff still enjoyable and written that long, long, 14 days ago in some cases. Enjoy!

The most discussed basketball event of the off-season – besides Dude Perfect and The Shot, that is – is without question the Mikhail Prokhorov-in-Brooklyn story. After first denying any such interest in buying the now-New Jersey Nets back in August, the news soon slowly leaked out that a crisp $1 bill from Prokhorov would get him majority ownership in the NBA franchise in exchange for investment in the swell new stadium in Brooklyn.

This prompted Prokhorov to craft a manifesto of sorts, proclaiming the significance of this acquisition and hinting at a few future plans. One reaction was immediate and surely universal: “Really? Mikhail Prokhorov uses *Live Journal*?”

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