First Person: Follow the FIBA World Cup through BiE’s eyes +++ 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 +++

US Presidential Election 2012: America’s basketball diplomat hits hardwood for last-minute votes (plus Official Fearless Prediction™)

Love him or hate him after nearly four years in office, one thing is for certain: Barack Obama is the first basketball president – a fact that could curry lots of favor with Generation X and Y voters in a celebrity-charged election.

Sure, Bill Clinton was lucky enough to enjoy his home-state University of Arkansas’ 1994 victory in the NCAA Tournament and play host to the Dream Team in ’92. Sure, guys like George W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon were often more erudite when discussing sports than, you know, politics (check out “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72” for Hunter S. Thompson’s interview with Tricky Dick, an interview which Thompson was told could only be about NFL football). And the Kennedys surely won popularity points for their picturesque family touch-football games.

However, no US president has leveraged sports fandom on an international scale like Obama. (Check out BallinEurope contributing writer Enrico Cellini’s piece on his pet project, tracking Obama’s basketball diplomacy moves.) And the president’s preference for basketball represents the rise of the NBA and to some extent NCAA hopes during David Stern’s reign as the big league’s commissioner.

(Is it any coincidence that Obama came to professional prominence in that hometown of the 1990s’ Incredibulls? BiE thinks not.)

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Spartak St. Petersburg 82, Triumph Lubertsy 73: Epic display of flopping, personal vendetta or match-fixing conspiracy?

Criticizing the referees is the international pastime for fans of every sport as losses are bemoaned and shortcomings blamed on those unloved (and allegedly) myopic zebras. Nothing new here.

Cynicism and conspiracy theorizing are particularly rife in this part of formerly Soviet-influenced Europe, with anything up to and including Eurobasket losses. Again, nothing new here.

A PBL match of last Wednesday saw playoff-contending Spartak St. Petersburg lose at Triumph Lyubertsy, 82-73, in a crucial match involving a few other clubs. This immediately spawned at least one nicely edited clip of referee miscues from the game which may have cost Spartak the much-needed win. One more time, join in if you know it: Nothing new here.


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Serbian suspicion confirmed: Photo shows Tunceri stepped out

All Joey Crawford jokes and half-kidding aside, BallinEurope tries not to fault referees for blown calls too often. Nor does BiE want to get into the habit of blaming the zebras for losses; for a long time, the rant from yours truly has been something along the lines of “Well, your team shouldn’t have been in the position so that a blown call could decide it, anyway.”

However, every once in a while, an exception comes along that even the firmest believer in fair play (or at least fair*ness*) is shaken.

Case in point: Kerem Tunceri’s morphing of a Hedo Turkoglu fumble into last-second layup that bounced Serbia from and got Turkey into the 2010 FIBA World Championship final.

Much indignation was felt in Serbia and rage directed at referees for general home team favoritism and for the Tunceri dagger specifically – every online outlet from Serbia to BallinEurope itself hosted some complaint against the men in stripes. An official complaint was filed with FIBA by Serbian authorities after the game, but such protests are hardly rare or infrequent.

While watching the game, BiE noticed quite a bit of “physical” play allowed by the refs, but nothing necessary grievously in Team Turkey’s favor. However, today, thanks to a fan photo taken from the stands, we can all see that a terrible error was made.

Check out this photo; worth the proverbial thousand words of vitriol.

Please also note the gentlemen with the TV camera working for FIBA – he’s particularly easy to see, as he’s wearing red. Notice the angle on the play that he’s got; has anyone seen this video footage since the conclusion of the game? Did anyone see this shot during the game?

Also of note is the referee at right, who appears to be looking directly at Tunceri.

Also, what about instant replay in these situations? Didn’t FIBA employ replays at the ends of halves, as in the NBA, for this tournament? (BiE believes they did…)

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The 35 Greatest Basketball YouTubes of All-Time: Nos. 16-20

BallinEurope brings another five pages on YouTube you’ll be wanting to bookmark as the 35 Greatest Basketball YouTubes of All-Time countdown continues. As always, the rules used in creating the masterwork of minutiae may be found here.

And today’s first clip needs no introduction, but BiE’ll give one anyway. To wit:

20. The worst foul call ever. Speaks for itself, really. Starring who else but Joey Crawford?

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