Michael Bramos on Greek Cup incident: “If it happens, it happens…”

(Michael Bramos image courtesy Panathinaikos)You’d think that the, um, enthusiasm at times of Greek basketball fans – you know, stuff like this. And this. And this. And … you get the idea – would be daunting for players otherwise pretty much unaccustomed to such behavior. And if the prospect of flares hurtling down like rain isn’t scary enough, you’d figure actually being knifed might turn a player off entirely to basketball in Greece.

Michael Bramos, however, ain’t going nowhere.

In February, Bramos was playing in his first Greek Cup final, another clash between the country’s Red and Green superpowers. That game, as is all too infrequently the case in Panathinaikos-Olympiacos, was marred by violence which delayed the game for an hour. In the midst of the chaos, Bramos was hit by a thrown jackknife.

So when interviewed by David Hein for the latest “Taking the Charge” podcast, what did Bramos have to say about the incident and Greek fandom in general? “If it happens, it happens … and that’s just the way Greece is.” (For more insight from Bramos, click on the previous link to hear the full interview.)

Prospective import players to Greece, this is your model: Just concentrate on the game and shrug off those knife attacks. It is what it is.

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Podcast: Interview with Panathinaikos’ Michael Bramos; figuring out Euroleague tiebreakers; Rollerballing

Episode #29 in the BallinEurope/heinnews co-produced podcast series Taking the Charge is now online. Lots of time this week is devoted to sorting out Euroleague Top 16 tiebreakers (it’s a tad more interesting than it sounds, hoping) and some general stuff about the March Madness – which BiE has taken to calling “March Manic Depression” ultimately for fans of all but one team…

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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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2012 Olympic Qualifying Tournament Preview: Greece

Just one more day (or so, CET) until the heartily-named 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Men tips off in Venezuela. BallinEurope continues with previews of the four European qualifiers with an assessment of Greece, a.k.a. Olympiacos and a bunch of other guys.

Roster: Vassilis Spanoulis, Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Evangelos Mantzaris (Olympiacos); Ioannis Bourousis, Antonis Fotsis (Olimpia Milano); Nikos Zisis (Montepaschi Siena); Nick Calathes, Kostas Kaimakoglou, Ian Vougioukas (Panathinaikos); Dimitrios Mavroeidis, Kostas Vasileiadis (Gescrap Bilbao Basket); and Michael Bramos (Gran Canaria); head coach Ilias Zouros (Anadolu Efes)

Notable no shows: Dimitris Diamantidis of Panathinaikos retired from national team play, returning that all-important starting point guard role to Vassilis Spanoulis – not a bad trade off this year … also out are Kostas Koufos (Denver Nuggets) and Sofoklis Schortsanitis (Maccabi Tel Aviv) due to injury.

How they got here: In Eurobasket 2011, a hot start saw Team Greece winning five of the first six games, only to drop three of the final five with losses to Russia, France and Lithuania in the placement game. In the penultimate match, however, Hellas put together its best game of the tournament in topping Serbia, 87-77, to earn a spot in these qualifiers.

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