One of the forgotten casualties of the 2011 player lockout was the NBA Europe Live Tour bringing top teams from North America to Euroleague arenas – and sometimes vice versa. The NBA Europe Live Tour 2011 was cancelled due to the labor issues, but happily EL officials announced at about noon CET today that the tour is back on for 2012.
Official press release follows, but BallinEurope’ll tell you straight up front that the games on the NBA Europe Live 2012 tour include: Boston Celtics vs. Fenerbahce Ulker on October 5; the Dallas Mavericks vs. Alba Berlin on Oct. 6; Celtics at Emporio Armani Milano on Oct. 7; and, presumably the Mavs against that unnamed Liga Endesa team soon thereafter.
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.
Yesterday, the basketball-centered bit of the Twitter universe was centered in two real-life locales: New York City and Barcelona. Topics in play were the falling of ping-pong balls in New York City and Euroleague’s incipient decision on the construction of Euroleague 2012-13. Hopefully, BallinEurope will get something together on the former later, but for now, BiE’ll attempts a quick look at the roster of teams for the upcoming season.
The three-year A-licenses are currently under review, but you gotta figure Caja Laboral Baskonia, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Anadolu Efes, Fenerbahçe Ülker, CSKA Moscow, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Montepaschi Siena and Žalgiris Kaunas are in. Asseco Prokom Gdynia is in the second year of its license, making them the 12th of the 24 teams.
Also up for review is Unicaja Malaga. While Spain is still even officially considered *the* best domestic or regional league in Europe (more on this momentarily), the big league could certainly defend a yanking of the license based on the team’s bottom-half finish in the Liga Endesa and consistently better recent performance by Valencia BC.
What’s that? You haven’t been watching the quarterfinal round of the Italian League’s playoffs? No problem: BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini has – and he posts today about just what you’ve been missing, namely two cliffhanging, nail-biting finishes that finished off Virtus Bologna. (Ironically and mournfully, BiE notes Bologna’s elimination as dated the same as Kobe Bryant’s 2011-12 Los Angeles Lakers.) Cellini promises that the videos are the centerpiece and so those looking for classic buzzer-beaters need search no further than below the break.
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.”
A BallinEurope question has been reopened today, to the detriment of Russian professional basketball’s reputation. About two weeks ago, a PBL game which will likely determine the league’s upcoming playoff tournament saw an extremely high number of, let’s say, questionable calls.
Of course, those expecting to see the big-name Shamrocks of the present season (much less those that played the Toronto Raptors in Rome five years ago) may be a bit disappointed; after all, the Herald itself remarks darkly in the cited article’s lead that 2012-13 season “figures to be filled with major changes” for the aging club.
A bit of a weird one from Italy for you this morning … BallinEurope contributing writer Enrico Cellini reports on a symbolic protest within his country’s national basketball league which subsequently saw nearly half the Serie A referees – including the well-esteemed Fabio Facchini, one of two Italians who will be calling games at the 2012 Olympic Games – suspended.
On March 17th and 18th, 19 Serie A referees opted for the orange jerseys they used to wear last season instead of the 2011-2012 grey uniforms. Unlike those NBA teams that go for vintage-style uniforms to reminisce about their roots (and sell some more jerseys at their stores), the old-school fashion displayed by the refs was intended as a clear signal to the Italian Basketball Federation and the basketball world as a whole.
The federation got the signal, did not like it at all, chastised the rebel refs and eventually suspended 15 of them!
“Obviously, [Chris Paul] is the best [point guard] in the league, a true star,” (“Ovviamente CP3 è il miglior play della lega”) says the Italian of his former Hornets teammate. “Playing with him has made me grow a lot, made me discover aspects of my game and my capacities…”
All accolades and trophies aside, however, BallinEurope’s man in Italy, Enrico Cellini, notes that White has simply got this dunk contest-winning thing down to a science. Would you like to win your next dunk competition in Europe? Cellini, White and good ol’ YouTube show you how in six easy steps.
After dominating his fourth dunk contest within European all-star game weekends – previous wins include those in Turkey in 2008, Russia in 2010 and Italy last year) by displaying his trademark repertoire, James White should really work on a handy guide containing the must-do tricks for guaranteed success in any dunk contest on The Continent. It would go pretty much like this: