Latest

BiE’s official Irish awards ballot +++ Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++
Feb
10

Podcast: Talking Greek basketball fandom, Australian post-apocalyptic sport

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode no. 22 of the heinnews/BallinEurope co-produced podcast series Taking the Charge is now available online.

This time out, guesting on the show is Aris Barkis of the excellent basketball site Eurohoops.net. While the name indicates that ‘Hoops is not exclusively devoted to the Greek game, David Hein and yours truly nevertheless get Aris to explain a bit about the madness descending unto courtside in the recent Greek Cup finals.

Of particular importance in the interview is Aris’ reminder that such incidents are generally not indicative of Greek basketball fandom as a whole, and that perhaps what’s mostly needed at Olympiacos-Panathinaikos games is German-style security…

Reviewed in this episode in our “Sports Movie of the Week” section is the American/Australian post-apocalyptic sport cult classic The Blood of Heroes, alternatively Salute of the Jugger (1989). In this one, Rutger Hauer stomps about the Outback as a grizzled veteran in a fascinating bloodsport mutated from rugby/American football known only as “The Game.” In the tradition of sports movies, also aboard is a young upstart who sees the game as her (that’s right, her; the post-apocalyptic future generates all sorts of badasses) ticket out of a poor life and into superstardom.

BiE contends that not only is Blood of Heroes compelling, exciting stuff, this film is actually well more unique and insightful that at first glance; tons of elucidation on this matter in the ‘cast.

For this and plenty of banter on all topics basketball, check out the entire podcast here.

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Feb
21

Cup finals highlights: Barca dominates Valencia; Siena squeaks past Cinderella; PAO bests “club of filth” Olympiacos; Korac Cup final postponed

Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to FC Barcelona, Montepaschi Siena and Panathinaikos, perhaps each respectively their nation’s top basketball club, for taking domestic cup titles this weekend.

In Spain, FC Barcelona showed no letup after outlasting Real Madrid in Thursday’s barnburner from the Copa Del Rey quarterfinal round and cruised through Valencia BC in the finals, 85-69. Nice to note that BiE fave Pete Mickael snagged this year’s MVP award from within a relentless and balanced Blaugrana attack.

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Oct
36

Taking stock of European players in the NBA, 2012-13

Koufos one of four Euronuggets

BallinEurope will be celebrating NBA Opening Day with lots of stuff centered on the big league; firstly, BiE takes stock of Continental ballers in the ‘States.

Taking a look at this year’s roundup, we note that 53 Europeans have been named to NBA clubs’ 15-man roster, just beating the pace of the 52 listed in 2010-11. (BiE didn’t take the tally for last season because, you know, things were kinda confusing during the lockout and all…)

And quite a few teams have seriously European-tinted rosters: Five teams go into the 2012-13 NBA season with four Continental players – and of these 20 players, perhaps only Sasha Pavlovic and Evan Fournier are marginalized at the lower end of the 15-man rosters. If one includes Ty Lawson as an honorary Lithuanian (for at least one more season), the Denver Nuggets could put an all-Euro squad on the floor with Lawson heading up an admittedly odd lineup of Fournier, Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos and Timofey Mozgov.

The team-by-team breakdown goes as follows.

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Aug
1

Europe represents at FIBA 3×3 World Championship: Serbia, France take medals; Czech, Estonian wins skills contests (with lotsa highlight clips)

The FIBA 3×3 World Championship wrapped yesterday with championship games in the men’s, women’s and mixed categories – and European basketball fans will be pleased to note The Continent’s success in the young event. With 15 of the tournament’s 24 men’s and women’s sides and 11 of the 16 mixed teams from Europe, The Continent did well in establishing itself in the world-level event.

In the second running of the 3×3 men’s competition, Serbia first took out the USA in the quarterfinals before ultimately outlasting France for a 16-13 win in the championship game for the gold medal.

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Jul
1

Twenty years ago today: Champions in Europe and USA, 1992

In celebration of certainly still the most significant year in international basketball history, BallinEurope today begins the “Twenty years ago today” series in which we’ll peer back in time through the lens of YouTube to that era of morphing European national teams and Dream Team dominance.

In the wake of that Greatest Basketball Team Ever Assembled, much of the 1991-92 professional seasons themselves get the short shrift in the history books, but some quite interesting stuff was nevertheless happening on the Continent.

• The Euroleague boasted a cliffhanging thriller in Partizan Belgrade vs. Joventut Badalona. Badalona brought Harold Pressley (with averages of 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per EL game) and Rafael Jofresa, while the Black-and-Whites boasted local products Predrag Danilovic and Aleksanda Djordjevic. It was the latter who’d deliver the European championship to the storied franchise for its first and, to date, last such title ever.

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Jul
51

Vlado Ilievski: FIBA partly to blame for FYR Macedonia defeat

How do you say “sour grapes” in Macedonian? In looking for reasons for his side’s loss to Team Dominican Republic in Olympic qualifiers, Vlado Ilievski sounded off on FIBA organization itself.

Teams from South America had more time for preparation,” Ilievski is quoted in FYR Macedonia-based Dnevnik. “They played in continental championships and were [in sync]. We had players whose seasons ended on June 15. I was injured and I was with the team for just 10 days. How can you prepare in such a short time? This is no excuse for losing, but at least we tried. We had a chance to become the first team from Macedonia to play in the Olympics and so we are disappointed. If we’d won, we would have had two more chances, but life goes on. Thanks to this generation [of players], the world knows about Macedonia…”

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Jun
13

Olympiacos wins! Olympiacos wins! Olympiacos wins! (a.k.a. *The* European basketball story of 2011-12)

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.

It seems like a dream to BallinEurope, so one can only goggle at how Olympiacos fans must be feeling today (aside from hungover, that is). Yes, the Reds in the decisive game five of the national championship series took the 82-76 victory over rival Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos, nine-time consecutive champions and typically previously perpetual Olympiacos nightmare this time of year.

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May
3

Red reign forecast? Olympiacos on brink of Greek title after beating Panathinaikos, 84-72

Olympiacos shrugged off both history and the Dimitris Diamantidis-Mike Batiste duo last night in taking game three of the Greek League championship series over rivals Panathinaikos, 84-72. With a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, the Reds are poised to take its first domestic league title since 1997; historians will of course note that ’97 marked Olympiacos’ last Euroleague championship until 2012 – and a string of six consecutive runner-up finishes could be broken.

The Reds got out to a 7-0 lead which expanded to 20-8 within the first quarter and ballooned to a 78-55 advantage in the fourth quarter before Olympiacos took feet off the pedal. Individually speaking, several Oly players contributed memorable performances: Euroleague heroes Vassilis Spanoulis and Giorgios Printezis were good for 31 points together while Marko Keselj added 10. Joey Dorsey grabbed eight offensive rebounds in snagging a game-high nine boards overall.

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May
106

The BallinEurope All-American Euroleague team (also all-Russian, -Greek and -former Yugoslavian teams)

Sonny Weems: Lithuania's top import in 2011-12

Now here’s an argument starter for you … with much debate perpetually going on among European basketball fans vis-à-vis the influence of American and/or NBA players on the Euroleague, BiE decided to take a look back at the 2011-12 season in hopes of drawing some comparison on an individual, player-by-player level.

Below, then, runs four all-star squads based on play in this season’s edition of the big league; for convenience and competition’s (rather than geopolitics’) sake, players from Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro and FYR Macedonia will be virtually suiting up for the “former Yugoslavia” team.

Right, so who wins this tournament…?

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May
66

On Olympiacos Euroleague championship: From crises emerge heroes

Printezis: Hero of the day

European basketball fans know that history was made with Olympiacos’ stunning victory in the 2012 Euroleague championship. And so BallinEurope contributor, the self-proclaimed hoops history junkie Uygar Karaca looks back with perspective on the title bid, reaching all the back to the Great Depression of 1929 through the collapse of the Soviet Union and into today’s European Union crises. Whether or not God Himself played a role, the importance of the Reds’ win, as Karaca sees it, is history repeating itself. Gloriously.

This is how things have worked throughout history: From crises emerge heroes. And heroes create the losers. Sometimes underdogs have more advantages simply because they have nothing to lose. It’s not unusual that we see situations like a 10-man football team winning against a stronger side. Sometimes having options confuses minds, creates problems in concentration and ambiguity in methodology. Those who have no real options perhaps have just one way and they become focused on the goal, which brings about greater optimization and efficiency.

I was thinking like this before the match: “If CSKA wins, there will be not many stories but in case of Olympiacos winning, there will be a variety of options in exposing the classical underdog story with many different perspectives. I hope Olympiacos wins.”

The day before the Euroleague final, I was at Abdi İpekci Hall to see some action in the Nike International Junior Tournament. There I saw Stevislav Pesic, also one of the greatest coaches in European basketball, the man who famously brought a European title to both Germany and Alba Berlin, who were real underdogs. I thought that it would be a great idea to take some predictions from him. Said Pesic: “I was not suprised when Olympiakos won against Barcelona, because Barcelona changed its game this year and were somewhat inconsistent throughout the season, whereas Olympiakos improved much compared to the beginning of the season.”

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