Now serving as U.S. diplomat to North Korea: Dennis Rodman?

This one has little to do with European basketball but is simply too bizarre to go without reportage – of course it is: Dennis Rodman’s involved.

In a move that’s quite a far cry from U.S. president Barack Obama’s famed “basketball diplomacy” and which may finally redefine the term “reality TV,” Rodman, a trio of Harlem Globetrotters and “a film crew from the Vice media company are visiting [North Korea] to shoot footage for a TV show set to air on HBO.”

Said TV show will feature the activities of a kids’ sport club run by the four ballers and “competing alongside North Korea’s top athletes in an exhibition match they hope will be attended by the leader, Kim Jong-un.”

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The 2012 Oscar (Robertson) Awards: Lifetime Achievement in Basketball Movies

In tribute/homage/ripoff to that movie-award ceremony thing going on in Los Angeles this evening PST, BallinEurope bestows its own prizes for the best in basketball movies released and/or screened during the year that was — as BiE refers to them, the Oscar (Robertson)s.

Second of the four Oscar (Robertson) Awards for 2012 is the result of a new wrinkle — and a couple of salient reminders of what certain folks have given to the game of basketball. BallinEurope’s new Oscar (Robertson) for Lifetime Achievement in Basketball Movies goes to The Harlem Globetrotters.

Known worldwide for their standing as the winningest franchise of all-time, for their status as international goodwill ambassadors, for serving as the last high-profile barnstorming team in any sport, the Globetrotters have also amassed quite the impressive CV of credits in the movie game as well … at least before the 1980s. For Globetrotters in the mass media, there’s

– Columbia Pictures’ “The Harlem Globetrotters” (1950), a fiction about a baller who drops out of college to join the squad;

– the sequel “Go, Man, Go!” released in 1954;

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Dude Perfect vs. the Harlem Globetrotters (Hijinks ensue)

Admittedly this one’s a bit of a teaser, but there’s some solid stuff in the video below the break as trick-shot specialists Dude Perfect meet up with “The greatest basketball players in the world,” (really?) a.k.a. Nate “Big Easy” Lofton and a couple of his Harlem Globetrotters teammates…

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Brody, Pollin, Seiden “on the map,” into immortality with HOF inductions

America’s National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame has announced its inductees for 2011, well representing basketball with an NBA executive, a college notable and one of the most significant figures ever in Maccabi Tel Aviv history.

In the spirit of “last shall be first,” BallinEurope first congratulates Talbot “Tal” Brody. After his senior, All-America year with University of Illinois in 1964-65, Brody was chosen by the Baltimore Bullets as the no. 12 overall pick in the ‘65 NBA draft – but he forewent the opportunity to play ball in the big league, instead preferring to finish a graduate degree (imagine that happening today).

For the 1966-67 season, Brody began his career with Maccabi; the team immediately ascended to the European Champions Cup final four round with Brody starting at no. 2. Military commitments returned Brody to the ‘States for a couple of years and the SG played with the fifth-placing Team USA at the 1970 FIBA World Championship.

Returning to Israel for good for the 1970-71 season, Brody was soon made immortal in Israel sports history by guiding Tel Aviv to the European Champions Cup in 1977, part of the franchise’s first triple-crown season and the country’s first major sports championship. His post-game comments preserved a spot in history proper when he declared, in the face of certain geopolitical pressure from the Soviet Union throughout the competition with specific reference to Israel, the Cup victory to signify that “We are on the map, and we are staying on the map – not only in sports but in everything.”

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Introducing the 2010-11 BallinEurope Festivus Invitational Tournament

As a holiday present to the audience, each of you has received courtside tickets to the first annual BallinEurope Festivus Invitational Tournament. Thanks to the miracle of totally BiE-unaffiliated (and totally mind-blowingly awesome) website What If Sports, we can bring together great players of the past and present for true dream matchups – and without all the messiness of traditional time travel.

For this inaugural event, six virtual invitations were extended to some of the most memorable players and squads in basketball history. Paradoxes caused by requiring a player to play against another version of himself (a feat thus far only successfully achieved by M.J.) were kept to minimum with only one player – Chris Bosh, oddly enough – forced to warp the spacetime continuum a bit. (Although Coach K could also be appearing simultaneously on opposing sidelines as well.)

Take a look at the rundown of these six teams to imagine the outcome: Who will win the BiE Festivus Invitational? Stay tuned and happy holidays, everyone!

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The 35 Greatest Basketball YouTubes of All-Time: Nos. 21-25

Shaquille O’Neal’s big presence is felt in this quintet from BallinEurope’s 35 Greatest Basketball YouTubes of All-Time. For those interested in the methodology (giggle) used in compiling this handy list of dandy little clips, click here; otherwise turn on the BiE network and prepare to waste the next 22 or so minutes – hey, what else are you going to do? Watch a sitcom?

25. Dr. Phil and Shaquille O’Neal Saw each other. Okay, so no one will ever confuse the Scary Movie series with Casablanca; the guy that wrote this opening bit for Scary Movie 4 (!), however, is a genius – and probably also the guy who invented the “Hack-a-Shaq” defense.

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Globetrotters stuck in Ireland, hang out in inner-city Dublin

Hot Shot wowed 'em in Dublin

Alba Berlin wasn’t the only basketball team in Europe to meet with delays and cancelled plans thanks to the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano: Stuck in Ireland after shooting promotional TV spots in Dublin were two Harlem Globetrotters.

The Globetrotters thereby made the best of their enforced downtime by doing what they do best: namely, entertain the young folks. “Hot Shot” Branch and “Slick Willie” Shaw turned up at the city’s St. Catherine’s Community Sports Centre to play with and teach the lucky players of the Oblate Dynamos youth teams.

Inspirational? To be sure, especially in the case of two Dynamos looking to improve her already high-level game: Oblate’s Katie Moloney is also a member of Team Ireland’s U16s girls squad that will be playing in Division B in the FIBA U16 European Championship Women come August, while Heather Meagher is a member of Ireland’s U16 Women Development Team.

The Globetrotters’ next international game will be played in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on Wednesday; Friday sees Harlem in Tysver, Norway; Hot Shot and Slick Willie are expected to participate in this match, dust cloud willing. The Globetrotters return to Ireland for three games in June.

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How to make the Harlem Globetrotters relevant again

Given the premise, BallinEurope probably should have guessed at the response. Yesterday’s post, entitled “Are the Harlem Globetrotters still relevant?”, drew less readership than imagined. Which, one supposes, is logical.

Nevertheless, a promise to actually propose a few solutions to fixing up the modern-day irrelevance of a cultural-historical force rare in the game of basketball was made. So, in the hopes that someone from Harlem Globetrotters Basketball Inc. may someday consider this modest proposal, BiE would like to offer the following suggestions in order to make the Globetrotters a household name and raise this team/institution’s standing in the cross-cultural currency of the 21st century.

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Are the Harlem Globetrotters still relevant?

Budapest last night played host to the Harlem Globetrotters, and BallinEurope was among the approximately 4,000 in attendance. Though a generally good time appeared to have been had by all – and particularly, of course, the preteens for whom the team’s brand of tomfoolery is really for – BiE just couldn’t help but wonder at just how relevant this 1920s creation is in the 21st century, despite basketball’s still-burgeoning popularity worldwide.

With a promise to keep the when-I-was-a-lad curmudgeonly rhetoric to a minimum, BiE can tell you i last saw the Harlem Globetrotters in Budapest in 1999 before a crowd nearly twice the size as last night’s. Having essentially gone the entire decade not having seen the Globetrotters in any form, i thrilled to the old refreshing antics, maybe 80% of which i’d utterly forgotten and thus were nearly as amusing at thirtysomething as at eight years old.

In between then and now, of course, the entire basketball landscape – how it is organized, played and especially watched – has changed utterly, slamming gears into the 21st century and quite possibly leaving the Harlem Globetrotters well behind. It is possible in North America to literally watch 24 hours of back-to-back basketball with a little assistance from TiVo (and certainly many tens of thousands have recently attempted this feat with March Madness in full swing); thanks to the expansion of live-streaming and IPTV technology, anywhere in the world equipped with fiber optics can allow a basketball enthusiast outside the ‘States to do likewise.

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Ron Harper, Dee Brown, Jay Williams confirmed for NBA Legends tour

Ron Harper, Dee Brown and Jay Williams are the first three names confirmed to take part in this November’s NBA Legends European tour.

Event organizer Geert Baeyens said there is a list of other players supplied by the U.S.-based organization NBA Legends from which he can select but are yet to be confirmed.

In a telephone call with ballineurope’s David Hein, Baeyens said the plan for the tour includes a group of between five to seven NBA Legends to team with four or five of the best streetball players in America. And that team will then play against sides made up of local legendary players.

“We already have a large group of former Belgian players interested in playing against the NBA Legends,” said Baeyens.

Baeyens could only confirm the previously reported date of November 13 with a game in Antwerp, Belgium. He hopes to add a second date in Belgium – likely in Charleroi. And he has local promoters working on confirming locations in other European countries, naming specifically Germany, Spain, England and Switzerland. Baeyens also mentioned that there are talks ongoing with Real Madrid for some former legendary players to participate.

Baeyens said the Swiss organizers had asked if it would be possible to get the 1992 Olympic Dream Team to play in the games. Offering a bit of a chuckle, he said: “That would not be very possible. First of all, you would need a huge amount of money. And Michael Jordan has said he is not interested in playing anymore and he obviously doesn’t need the money.”

The idea came after Baeyens stopped following seven years working as a promoter for the Harlem Globetrotters in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.

“Having the same show year after year kills the Globetrotters. Once you have seen the show, you’ve seen the show. And the interest in Belgium became lower and lower. And in the end, it proved not really worthwhile to bring the Globetrotters to Belgium,” said Baeyens.

Looking for something else, the promoter made his first contacts in 2007 about bringing a team of NBA legends to Europe for 2008. And then after the talks stalled, he started them back up for 2009.

“I think the combination of some top NBA Legends playing their game and great street ballers bringing some spectacular dunks will make a great show. And it’s not the same as the Harlem Globetrotters, which is really more like theater on the court.”