Apologies from BallinEurope for not weighing in on this … thing until this morning, but after rereading it for the nth time, BiE felt the rant building but wanted to avoid posting an overly emotional response. Perhaps a day and a good night’s rest would temper my viewpoint; maybe upon waking this morning, we’d all discover after logging in to FIBA.com that the Eurobasket manipulation had all been a smokescreen for the hiring of Mike D’Antoni. Or something.
If it hadn’t been for all the personality-cult stuff surrounding a certain King James, the fateful FIBA committee vote scheduled for Sunday would more rightly be known as “The Decision”: In Lyons this weekend, the final determination will be made as to whether Team Britain receives for the 2012 London Games the traditionally-granted automatic qualification given the host nation’s hoops team.
On the eve of British basketball facing what even FIBA Secretary-General Patrick Baumann has called “the biggest decision in its history,” pundits, players and the powerful are all weighing in on the impact of “The FIBA Decision.” BallinEurope rounds up a few stories and such from the interwebs for your perusal.
(As for BiE, of course we’re backing the British bid. How can you not give it them?)
• First and foremost is Pops Mensah-Bonsu. BiE dares say that no one represents the pride and hopes of this team better than Pops, and the man’s passion for winning with Team Britain is matched by few.
With the vote on whether to allow Team Britain automatic entry into the 2012 London Olympic Games set to take place on Sunday in Lyons, FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann has released a statement to media regarding the criteria for this decision-making process.
Much of the verbiage is along the lines FIBA suddenly demanded of British basketball associations last September, namely that an Olympic bid might depend on the willingness and/or feasibility of merging pro basketball’s governing bodies in England, Scotland and Wales. On this point, Baumann at least admits that FIBA has been “criticised for ‘moving the goalposts’ on qualification.”
Baumann’s statement reads as follows.
A few days ago, BallinEurope noted some of FIBA secretary-general/International Olympic Committee member Patrick Baumann’s new demands for British Basketball vis-à-vis getting the team into the 2012 Olympic games to be held in London. The folks at Britball Media gave BiE the heads-up yesterday on an interview conducted by MVP, the “UK home for basketball” and publishers of the eponymous new magazine, with Baumann on the subject.
Baumann touches on the latest prerequisites for British basketball to win a bid in the Olympics, including the crucial merger of English, Scottish and Welsh organizations to take the place of what FIBA calls the “shadow organization” which builds a British team for international competition.
Video runs below the break.
Despite the fact that Team Britain has managed to qualify for 2010 Eurobasket tournaments on both men’s and women’s sides, FIBA secretary-general/International Olympic Committee member Patrick Baumann has placed yet another condition to be met in exchange for bids at the 2012 Olympic Games.
According to today’s Scotsman newspaper via a letter sent from Baumann to Basketball Scotland vice-chairman Bill McInnes, Baumann now demands as prerequisite to Olympic entry “that a single governing body in Britain is established for basketball” uniting programs from England, Scotland and Wales.
There was this joke in the 1990s … old Russian guy goes to a café, orders a cup of coffee and a copy of Pravda.
“Excuse me, sir,” says the waiter, “but they don’t print that anymore.”
“All right then,” says the guy. “Cup of coffee and a copy of Pravda.”
“Sir, they don’t print Pravda anymore.”
“Okay, a copy of Pravda.”
The waiter loses it: “They do not print Pravda anymore.”
“Oh, I know,” says the customer. “I just like to hear that.”
In this spirit, then, though you may have heard it already: “FIBA has announced that it is to ban the vuvuzela from the forthcoming basketball World Championship in Turkey because of…” (please excuse BiE for some snickering at the next bit) “health concerns.”
UK-based Sporting Life recently posted an couple of articles regarding the odd state of the national program and which insinuate FIBA’s greater concern with basketball in the country.
On Monday, the ‘paper presented a long interview with FIBA secretary-general/International Olympic Committee inspector Patrick Baumann. Among other issues, Baumann spoke at length about what he and the organization fear could be the transitory nature of hoops development there; Great Britain basketball “needs long-term support,” he says.
Team Great Britain faces quite an interesting problem heading into the country’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games. Whilst a host nation would typically automatically be granted a bid for their national basketball team, FIBA and IOC have essentially created a prerequisite for Britain before that bid is given, i.e. the team must put in some sort of respectable showing in a major international tournament this summer or next.
This in turn would imply that the British national program has been given an ultimatum: Perform in EuroBasket 2011 or else.
The British national team has only appeared in the Olympic Games once – in 1948! – and the most memorable game the recently-resurrected squad has played in recent memory was a loss: the 2009 Eurobasket game which had Spain more than a bit nervous well into the fourth quarter with the Brits leading 73-69.
Dear Santa Claus,
First of all, thank you for existing. Because during such a crisis as this, I’ve been worrying that Christmas might also be reserved for the Chapter 11 treatment. But you’re not still dead, maybe you’re searching for money like General Motors and Chrysler are (oops…maybe you’re healthier, up there in Lapland). I’m writing you this letter in the hopes you’ll satisfy my wishes. I think I won’t pretend too much: We are talking about basketball here. This is my list:
• 24 elite teams in the Euroleague. I can’t see Panionios or Le Mans playing Europe’s most important competition. The best with the best: That’s my opinion. And Ljubljana, Nancy, Zalgiris getting 20 or more points on the road? Mentality, people. They don’t have enough to face the Euroleague, so they can stay in the Eurocup, full stop. So, dear Santa Claus, if you would carry to me an Euroleague reserved for Italian, Spanish, Greek, some Russian and Turkish teams, I’d be the happiest boy you’ve ever pleased! A recommendation: Don’t say anything to Patrick Baumann; call only Jordi Bertomeu to hear what he says about this idea.
• Less perimeter-oriented basketball. My basketball is not catch-and-shoot style, it’s not target practice. I want hesitations, spin moves, and mid-range plays back! I would see big men able to score back to the basket, getting the ball on the low post, scoring tap-ins and fighting for rebounds. I’m bored to see power forwards and centers who shoot only beyond the arc. Should I be pleased to have Ksistof Lavrinovic here in Siena? OK, you win there. But I’d be satisfied if you equipped Montepaschi with a Greg Oden-like player: That way I’d be sure of the European title. Cheers.
• Endless changes in the NIKEID Fantasy Challenge.
• New and better arenas – no more gyms. Build them on your own, ’cause my feeling is that the economic crisis could stop owners from investing a few euros in new palaces, despite Bertomeu and his calls for 9000 seats per squad.
• CSKA’s cheerleaders on every court.
• Responsible agents who are honest in managing contracts and do the best they can for their clients, rather than themselves. Brandon Jennings’ case should teach us something, because with the season going on, the thought that B.J. would develop his skills much more in the NCAA instead on the Lottomatica’s pine consistently increases. Two reasons: the great combo-guard class (UNC’s Ty Lawson, Gonzaga’s Jeremy Pargo, Davidson’s Stephen Curry, UCLA’s Darren Collison, Memphis’ Tyreke Evans, Kansas’ Sherron Collins) we are now admiring in college basketball, and the resignation of Jasmin Repesa. If a 19-year-old in his first experience outside the US, has two or three different coaches during the season, well, you add further confusion to your mind
• A team for Dimitris Itoudis: Zelimir Obradovic can’t stand his unstoppable talking anymore.
That’s all. Have I made requests you can’t attend to? OK then, give me the latest Air Jordans. But please, pledge yourself to help people keep their jobs, so they might forget all their problems at least while watching a basketball game.