A good portion of this epic-by-today’s-standard is devoted to possible trade destinations for the Team Britain big man — even though Smith believes Deng’s recent musings on getting dealt. Most intriguing is a proposition swapping Deng to the Houston Rockets for Kyle Lowry, thereby freeing up Goran Dragic to start there and creating one wicked backcourt in Chicago.
Smith then switches gears and drops a bit of trivia. To wit: Which players have played 10 seasons in European professional basketball and at least three in the NBA? Smith’s got:
In clearing out the virtual desk of 2011-12 basketball season stuff, BallinEurope today presents this compilation of the year’s top Euro-centric buzzer-beaters. The requirements to make the list were two: the primary player in the buzzer-beater most be of European nationality or the shot must take place in a game featuring European teams; and the buzzer-beater must take place at the end of a quarter, i.e. no shot-clock buzzer-beaters considered.
Greater weight was given in consideration to the relative importance of the win earned with the highlight shot. Keeping one’s team alive is more important than YouTube glory, after all.
And on with the list. Firstly, honorable mentions go to:
• Travis Diener for Banco di Sardegna Sassari against Fabi Shoes Montegranaro on April 15. Sassari would go on to win in overtime, 79-77, and continue in a successful season which had them ultimately placing fourth in the Serie A. Unfortunately for the purposes of this post, not quite a buzzer-beater.
Courtesy the Facebook page entitled Il basket è Vita comes this excellent perspective-inducer regarding the basketball careers of Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and one other guy. Here are the first two panels; see below the break for the punchline and rough translation of the dialogue into English – though these images really speak for themselves. (Funny, BallinEurope knew Kobe was fluent in Italiano, but Lebron…?)
Besiktas introduces Deron Williams: It seems like so long ago...
Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, who capped a fascinating whirlwind run last night with an 80-76 victory over Anadolu Efes in game six of the TBL championship series. The Black Eagles may add the trophy to their Turkish Cup and FIBA Eurochallenge title in 2011-12, certainly the most successful – and among the most bizarre – seasons the club has ever experienced.
In his first media appearance since the Chicago Bulls were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Philadelphia 76ers, Joakim Noah assessed his chances of suiting up for Team France in the 2012 Olympics.
Putting something of a more positive spin on things, Noah went on that state that “I prefer to stay positive and tell myself that time is on our side. We’ll see how it turns out. We’ll know more in two or three weeks […] when I can join the French team. The Olympics is also a goal in my season, but I want to return to France in shape. I want to be there, but at 100%.”
The NBA club has not given word on whether Noah will be discouraged or prohibited from playing in the Olympics.
Once again on June 7, BallinEurope takes a look back at one of the all-time greats, without whom the game of basketball would not be the same: Dražen Petrović. The man is still missed.
An entire generation has entered basketball since his untimely passing and while ever-growing numbers of NBA and European stars who have never seen him play emerge, all owe a debt to Dražen Petrović.
It was on this day in 1993 that the only man who realistically could have held claim to the sobriquet of “the European Michael Jordan” was killed in a car accident in Germany. As detailed in the excellent ESPN “30 for 30” documentary “Once Brothers,” Petrović was a fearless, proud player with Team Yugoslavia and later Team Croatia in international play; was on the verge of entering the prime of a Hall of Fame-level career with the New Jersey Nets.
For those of you who never saw Petrović play, do yourselves a favor and take some time to watch below. For those of us fortunate enough to remember this European pioneer blazing trails all over the world, it’s a welcome (if slightly meandering) trip down memory lane. We still miss you, Dražen.
History has been unkind to Petrović vis-à-vis his NBA battles with that 1990s uber-phenomenon, i.e. Michael Jordan. Surely many Nets and Chicago Bulls fans remember the battles between these two powers which were mostly, as they say these days, “epic.”
Let’s put this into perspective. The last time Olympiacos took the Greek national title, they were led by David Rivers and Dragan Tarlać. Vassilis Spanoulis was 15 years old and not near professional club play. Dejan Bodiroga was in the middle of his career and Mirsad Turkcan had just turned 21.
Across the pond, Lebron James was 13; Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and *those* Chicago Bulls were about to earn their fifth rings; Kobe Bryant had just become the NBA record-setter as youngest NBA starter ever. In international play, Team USA still wore an aura of invincibility. The World Trade Center was still standing and the European Union was optimistically looking forward to including former communist-led countries as member states.
In the early 1900s, a disaster for thousands of unsuspecting voyagers to America and the trans-Atlantic travel industry in general; roughly one hundred years later, a disaster for millions of Chicago Bulls fans and (by the looks of Tuesday’s chumping at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers) the team’s 2012 playoff hopes in general … through the magic of YouTube mashing-up do the Titanic and the Derrick Rose-less Bulls meet!
As ‘Tuber TheSuperAngelBlue explains, “Le basketteur Derrick Rose, des Chicago Bulls s’est payé un sacré gadin la semaine dernière. L’occasion pour les internautes d’enfoncer un peu le clou avec ce mashup Titanic hilarant.
Can Jack Dawson save Derrick Rose Dewitt Bukater? Will their hearts go on? And once more: How brilliant is YouTube, anyway?
BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini, today gives us a few choice quotes from Italy’s man on the New Orleans Hornets, Marco Bellinelli. In an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport weekly, Bellini decries the relative drawing power of his NBA compatriots Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani as opposed to himself; plus, there’s a further comment that a certain Chicago Bull might not dig too much…
In an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport weekly magazine Sportweek, New Orleans Hornets guard Marco Belinelli went through his supposed inferiority complex toward the other two Italian kids in the NBA, Bargnani and Gallinari.
In slightly contradictory fashion, Belinelli says, “I never felt I’m competing with them. Sometimes people talk more about someone else, it happens. Sure, I’m not pleased that Italian journalists and fans keep on considering Il Mago and Il Gallo more important [than me]. I can’t do anything about it but I feel a little bad.
“So why do the other two guys have more appeal? Just because they score more points or because they sell themselves better?” [It’s gotta be the market, Marco. Or the lack of flashy nickname... – Ed.]
Belinelli argued that status as high NBA draft picks paved Bargnani and Gallinari’s ways to smooth entrances and then reckons, “In the past, I’ve been penalized for being considered just a shooter, but I’ve showed I can do much more. I’m not a Kyle Korver type of guy, someone who shoots and that’s it: I can pass, do pick-and-rolls, drive the lane.”
As the Gazzetta dello Sport journalist desperately tried to portray him as a superhero with icebreaking questions on the order of “How could you turn from zero to hero?” and “Do you feel like a monster?”, Belinelli finally surrendered: “Well if it means that I never surrender and that I will fight to become the best player possible, then yes, I am a monster.”