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 +++

Ramunas Siskauskas: The BallinEurope video tribute

On Monday, European basketball great Ramunas Šiškauskas announced his retirement from the game: A story that was noteworthy enough for even North Korean sports fans to be notified. In his official statement, Šiškauskas said that he’d “made my choice in the middle of the season. It was not connected with anything specific – I just feel I should stop. I can only be excited about my career” and that “I am glad I was able to quit as a significant player, playing for such a great team and organization as CSKA Moscow.”

At 33 years of age, Šiškauskas put together a 16-season career with BC Sakalai Vilnius, Lietuvos Rytas, Benetton Treviso, Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow plus seven years with Team Lithuania in FIBA and Olympic play – good for a gold and two bronzes.

And in that decade and a half, Šiškauskas amassed just under 1,500 points in seven Euroleague seasons on 49.8% shooting including 42.3% on threes. His back-to-back EL titles earned in 2007 and ’08 are among his many individual-career and team highlights … aw, hell. Let’s dispense with further formalities and get to the Ramunas Šiškauskas career tribute in traditional BallinEurope fashion, i.e. with lots of YouTube clips! We’ll miss ya, Ramunas…

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On the demise of Lithuanian Basketball

Jasikevicius: The long-term leader

BallinEurope is not exactly sure what led our man in Lithuania, the enigmatic Y., to contemplate the fortunes of his country’s national team … but who are we to question a Lietuva hometowner when it comes to basketball? Y. goes back eight years to figure out where things went so terribly wrong and unfortunately finds little hope for Team Lithuania’s future – even with the likes of Jonas Valančiūnas and Donatas Motiejūnas aboard…

Underachievement of a previous generation
The 2004 Olympic Games were a huge disappointment for Lithuania. As EuroBasket 2003 champions, the team was one of main favourites for silver (the fall of the “Dream Team” was still unimaginable). Lithuania, however, that year finished fourth: one step short of the prize it had collected in every Olympiad since the country’s independence.

This was the beginning of the demise of what was a top national team in the world. Players’ refusal to participate, retirements, injuries and an underachieving new generation – all these aspects contributed to Lithuania’s fall from basketball superpower levels to status as a regional great, capable of reaching a medal stage in the right circumstances.

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Greatest of all-time: Yugoslavia or Spain?

An interesting exchange of tweets went down last Friday (yes, minus points for untimeliness, but on another job BallinEurope thought deep into the matter all weekend) between HoopsHype/ESPN Deportes writer Jorge Sierra and Team Australia/Milwaukee Bucks big man Andrew Bogut.

Things started innocuously enough, with Sierra plugging a Spanish-language piece he’d written for Deportes: “An article I penned about Pau Gasol’s Spain potentially being the best non-American team ever,” the HoopsHype tweet read.

To which Bogut shot back with, “@hoopshype Yugoslavia of the late 80s might disagree.”

Retorted the ‘Hype: “@AndrewMBogut Gasol has a better record with Spain (2003-2011) than Petrovic with Yugoslavia (1984-1990).

And finally the exchange ended with Bogut’s terse tweeting of “@hoopshype didn’t say Petro. Said teams. Petro, Divac, Kukoc, Radja etc. I know who i’d take…

It’s an interesting debate, particularly for those who remember actually seeing Drazen and the guys play in international competition. (Bogut was four years old in 1988 – November 1988 – and there’s no telling on Sierra. BiE was … well, let’s just say “old enough to have seen Team Yugoslavia.”) In fact, BallinEurope took on a similar subject a while back and decided that the post-communist Team Yugoslavia of 2001-02 captained by aging Vlade Divac was superior to any Spanish side since the decade turned – but that’s just one opinion…

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France vs. Spain friendly: Parker to play 100th for France, Noah gets first warmup

Happy 100th, Tony Parker! As in the 100th appearance he’ll be making for the French national team tonight in a friendly between Les Bleus and Team Spain in Almeria. Parker has been synonymous with both Team France and the FIBA Eurobasket tournament itself; barring injury, the San Antonio Spur’s appearance in Lithuania for this year’s competition would make it six consecutive Eurobaskets in a streak going back to the beginning of last decade.

Parker first suited up for France in 1997, aging his way through U16, U18 and U20 international tournaments to 2002. Tops among his international tournament performances was at the 2000 FIBA U18 European Championship: As France took the Continental title, Parker was named MVP for his 25.8 points, 6.8 assists and a completely insane 6.8 steals per game – a performance which was certainly incentive enough for San Antonio to draft him into the NBA in round one in 2001.

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FIBA World Championship semi-finals: Of Lithuanian fight songs and Fearless Predictions™

With the informal Turkish national fight song “Oniki Dev Adam” getting lots of media play thanks to the stirring renditions performed by hometown crowds at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, BallinEurope thought it would be a good time to give props to Lithuania’s own popular sports anthem.

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Homage to the Killer: BallinEurope’s video tribute to Arvydas Macijauskas

Reader AM recently noted his disappointment with BiE lately due to this website’s non-reportage on the recent premature retirement of 30-year-old Arvydas Macijauskas on Wednesday. At the time BiE heard the news, the story had already been well reported on dozens of other websites and so passed on writing something up.

However, AM is right in that Macijauskas does deserve tribute here at BallinEurope for thrilling pro basketball fans throughout The Continent and FIBA followers around the world in his too-short career. And so, we’ll pay tribute to another great Lithuanian baller the best way BiE knows how: Through YouTube clips.

Roll the highlights!

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Europe’s top national teams of the 2000s

Huge in 2006: Sofoklis and Team Greece

Huge in 2006: Sofoklis and Team Greece

After taking a look at the European players of the decade and top professional teams of the decade, BallinEurope today turns attention to the national level. Which teams from the 2000s will we still recall fondly in years to come? Below are listed eight key national squads from the passing ten-year span, the unforgettable basketball teams that made their marks in sports history.

• 2001-02 Yugoslavia. Sure, Team USA had taken hits to its perceived invulnerability in international competition between meeting Oscar Schmidt in 1987 and Y2K, but on one day in 2002, the Yugoslavian team slammed the door on American preeminence in basketball forever. And this was after breezing through Eurobasket 2001, winning five of six games by double-digit margins. Yugoslavia was the only country to take golds at Eurobasket and FIBA World competitions with (basically) the same team; the 2002 roster included Dejan Bodiroga, Peja Stojakovic, Marko Jaric, Dejan Milojevic, Vlade Divac and Vladimir Radmanovic, a roster good enough to merit mention among a discussion of greatest basketball teams ever assembled, period.

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The BallinEurope All-Decade All-European Team

Jasikevicius: Blood, sweat and tears for 10 years

Jasikevicius: Blood, sweat and tears for 10 years

While technically this decade doesn’t end until 2010, with millions of sports websites and blogs proclaiming December 31 the end of the 2000s, who is BallinEurope to be pedantic? (Especially when there’s a good excuse to make an all-time team roster.)

Therefore, in the spirit of a new era, BallinEurope seeks to comprise Europe’s All-Decade team for the years 2000-2009. We’ve got two slots free on an ideal 12-man roster, but the first ten spots might be filled by the likes of the following.

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