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 +++ EuroBasket 2015: Wins for Macedonia, Belgium, and Georgia +++ Q&A with Alex Krstanovic on the Belgrade Trophy +++ Thomas Klepeisz shows you how to celebrate a winning bucket +++

Podcast: Interviewing German Bundesliga CEO Jan Pommer, viewing basketball in Pittsburgh

Taking the Charge podcast seriesEpisode #21 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-hosted “Taking the Charge” podcast series is now online. With the entire Euroleague taking a bye this week, David Hein and yours truly keep the EL-centric talk to a minimum, but stay focused on basketball nevertheless with an interview of Bundesliga CEO Jan Pommer.

Pommer is not only enjoying some nice success as the German league has continuously and consistently broken attendance records, but is also one of the more strident voices sounding off against FIBA’s planned reform (BiE prefers to think of it as “deform”) of international tournament structure…

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Podcast: Will Euroleague’s “Financial Fair Play” really work?

BallinEurope’s weekly podcast with hard-working sports journalist David Hein on all matters European and international basketball is now up and running at

Episode 1 of “Taking the Charge” – we’re calling last week’s inaugural effort “Episode 0” – focuses on (and includes) a one-on-one interview Hein undertook with Beko BBL CEO Jan Pommer. While masterminding the admirable rise of Germany’s Bundesliga, Pommer is most known in European basketball circles for overseeing the big league’s “Financial Fair Play” program.

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Assessment chronicles the rise and rise of German professional basketball

Speaking of German basketball, BallinEurope pushes forth a plug for’s piece of today entitled “The Rise of the Germans.” Writer Julios (hey, that’s what it says) takes a look at Bundesliga CEO Jan Pommer’s once seeming pipe dream of making the BBL the top league on The Continent by 2020.

Julios gives a generally positive assessment of the Pommer Masterplan, reporting that all systems appear to be going strong in noting that “the average attendance this season has reached an all-time high of 4293 and an average capacity of 5,139. That easily places the German league at second spot in Europe second only to the ACB (average attendance of 6,420 per game) [and] well over traditionally strong leagues” such as those in Italy, Greece, Russia and Turkey.”

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On Team Germany, Bayern München and Dirk Bauermann’s Catch-22

When fans think of European basketball superpowers, typically names like Spain, Greece, Russia and even Lithuania or Italy tend to enter early into any discussion. At least one national program wants to change this conception – and thus far appears to be a paragon of success which others might do well to follow.

To wit, check out a pair of trivia questions, courtesy of BallinEurope:

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Economy causes Alba “no” to 10m euro budget

German BBL clubs have until Sunday to submit their financial paperwork for licenses for next season. The biggest news so far has defending champions Alba Berlin saying they will not increase their budget for 2010 to 10 million euros as they had hoped.

Berlin have long talked about increasing their budget from the current estimated 7.5 million euros to 10 million euros to help better compete in the Euroleague. But with the current worldwide economic crisis still on-going, Alba manager Marco Baldi told the German tabloid daily Bild that the club does not want to risk going over their means.

“At the moment, we cannot maintain this goal,” Baldi told Bild. “We really have to see clearly what’s going on in the market. And it doesn’t look like increases.”

When asked if Alba would be stagnant with their budget, he added: “At the moment, we have to assume that.”

Baldi, in the report, also cited the situation at BC Kyiv – who had to recently release six foreign players – as something Alba desperately want to avoid, adding: “We will only spend what we can generate.”

Another big German club also admitted this week that the poor world economy would affect their planning for next season.

Deutsche Bank Skyliners do not release their budget information, but the Frankfurt team manager Gunnar Wöbke told the Frankfurter Neue Presse: “We always plan our budget conservatively. But we will plan it a bit more conservatively now.”

“It’s natural that the world economic crisis will impact the entire economy, including all professional sports clubs,” Wöbke added.

The FNP report also noted that Frankfurt’s main sponsor Deutsche Bank – one of the leading banks in Germany – has until December to announce if it will remain a partner with the club after the 2009-2010 season.

And BBL chief executive Jan Pommer said in the same FNP report that the league could be facing having fewer than 18 clubs next season if the odd side cannot cover the 1 million euro minimum budget.

“We have to remain authoritative and stick to our standards,” Pommer said. “I do not assume it, but that of course could mean that there will not be 18 teams next season.”


NBA Player’s Association supports German protest

The protest action at the German Top 4 Cup in Hamburg drew support from the NBA Player’s Association with NBPA executive director Bill Hunter comparing the move to the beginnings of his own organization back in 1964.

Players from Bonn and Düsseldorf refused to play the first two possessions of Saturday’s Top 4 first semi-final. In additions, all four semifinalists – also eventual champions Alba Berlin and Deutsche Bank Skyliners Frankfurt – wore Christmas tree stickers on their shoes.

The moves were part of a protest organized by not-for-profit players association SP.IN to speak out against the German BBL league making decisions without negotiating with the German player’s association. Among the issues were scheduling games over Christmas, the BBL doping program and the lack of opportunities for young German players.

“In some points we see the rights to have a voice. Our goal is that talks are held in which we are not just heard but can also take part,” Frankfurt captain Pascal Roller was quoted by the German Press Agency dpa. Roller also sits on the executive board.

The league refuted the accusations and BBL chief executive Jan Pommer told dpa:  “I find the action superfluous, though is it not disruptive. I don’t think the fans understood it.” About playing games in the Christmas break, Pommer added: “We have to schedule the games where the consumers want to watch. After all, we are earning money with the games. And the players also profit from this.”

After hearing about the protest, NBA Player’s Association Bill Hunter addressed a letter of support to members, published on the organization’s website.
In it, he said:
“You find yourselves in a similar situation as a group of NBA All Stars in 1964 when, led by Oscar Robertson, they threatened to strike the All Star game in order to compel the NBA to recognize the union and begin real negotiations. That was our beginning and since then our players have benefitted from the negotiation of a series of Collective Bargaining Agreements that regulate the labor relations between the players and the league. This could also be your future if you stick together during this critical phase in the development of your young association.
Good luck and much success.
William Hunter”

This issue is hardly over with. Stay tuned.


X-mas cigarettes

Today is December 24th, Santa Claus is just around the corner, and here we go for some cigarettes that help to survive during the break over the holy days.

  • First of all, thanks to Zalgiris Kaunas, which is (so far) the only Euroleague and team in general that has sent a (digital) Christmas Card to BallinEurope.
  • Speaking of gifts, who doesn’t remember the 2008 Olympic Games final? The French referee Chantal Julien who officiated during the Olympic Games talks about the decisive game between Spain and the USA. In an interview with the French magazine Basketnews, Chantal comes back to this memorable game with the following words: You don’t call the same things on the Americans than you do call on other teams. You have to call the most evident of the evident things. If you whistle a travel every time that Kobe Bryant starts a drive, you will get whistled, you as the referee … During the final, the Spanish team was penalized on the US travels. With the consequences that we know at the end with the two technical fouls on non-called traveling violations. This was embarrassing…
  • Some Euroleague teams have put X-mas related content on their homepages. While TAU Vitoria has changed the look of the entry page into a giant Christmas tree, Virtus Roma is even selling a Christmas T-shirt with the autographs of their players. ALBA Berlin is combining their own wishes to the fans with those of the team by putting Julius Jenkins on the official Christmas message, and CSKA Moscow has arranged its homepage a bit into a Christmas Feeling while describing the VTB League win as a Christmas gift. However, the maximum in Christmas kitsch comes from Montepaschi and this video clip in which the players and some other people wish a merry Christmas and a happy new year while wearing those stupid Santa Claus hats. And nobody can tell me anymore that Italians do NOT talk too much…
  • I really though that the ACB would make a special Christmas clip for the ACB TV portal. There is nothing at least until now, but watch this great highlight film of the best and most spectacular plays of the year 2008. Be sure to check out the latest Ricky Rubio beauty at the end of the film.
  • You can also read the official Christmas letter from Jan Pommer, the German Bundesliga commissioner, but it’s far less entertaining than the ACB video review.
  • In France, the Christmas break is always marked by the All-Star Game. And as always, the dunk contest is more exciting than the game itself, as officials invited Golden Child and Justin Darlington to compete against the best French leapers.
  • For the Euroleague, it’s Christmas, too, with a best of Christmas cheerleader action. This is even worse than the Montepaschi wishes.

OK, I think I’ve done my work for now. I wish you all the best and a merry Christmas…