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Highlights: Croatia beat Spain 80-55 in FIBA Europe U18s +++ Highlights: Serbia coast past Lithuania 83-67 at FIBA Europe U18s +++ Highlights: Greece beat Italy 85-68 in FIBA Europe U18s +++ VIDEO: Basketball World Cup of Beer – Opening Ceremony and Schedule +++ Serbia and Croatia make statements at FIBA U18s +++ Coach James Weldon gives his thoughts on Dragan Bender +++ Sarunas Jasikevičius retires, joins Zalgiris in coaching role +++ Vintage Drazen Petrovic jersey up for auction +++ Ireland announce select squad for Luxembourg friendlies +++ We really need you to nominate beers +++
Mar
0

Podcast: Interviews with Sasha Kaun, Fotios Katsikaris; lotsa talk on Russian, Lithuanian ball

Taking the Charge podcast seriesNow available online is episode 26 of the BallinEurope/heinnews co-hosted podcast, Taking the Charge. It’s a heavy serving of Russia with a side of Lithuania this week. This week the list of subjects on which we natter includes the following.

• Interviews with CSKA Moscow’s Sasha Kaun, who reveals a touch of March Madness, and Eurocup semifinalist Bilbao Basket/Team Russia coach Fotios Katsikaris, the guy who’s been handed the reins formerly manned by David Blatt – and perhaps a shell of the Olympic bronze-winning team…

• The respective fates of CSKA Moscow and Zalgiris Kaunas going into Friday’s Euroleague game. After this podcast was recorded, the will-he-won’t-he story on Ksystof Lavrinovic broke; while early sources reported the twin’s departure to be a done deal, a BallinEurope reader has pointed out that Ksystof informed Lithuania-based media that he would “remain with Zalgiris regardless of the situation.

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Feb
0

Poll: What was your favorite basketball movie of 2012?

BallinEurope killed much time the past two weeks in catching up with basketball-centric movie releases of 2012, and subsequently devoted much verbiage to these films on this site. So now it’s your turn, and who doesn’t love an online poll? Tell us: What was your favorite hoops flick of the past year? Vote below and please feel free to elaborate on your vote in the comments section — BiE looooooooooves talking sports movies…

What was your favorite basketball movie released in 2012?

  • The Other Dream Team (66%, 21 Votes)
  • other (9%, 3 Votes)
  • NBA Films' The Dream Team (6%, 2 Votes)
  • The Iran Job (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Benji (from ESPN "30 for 30" Volume 2) (6%, 2 Votes)
  • Thunderstruck (7%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 32

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Feb
2

Basketball Movies in 2012: The winner of the Oscar (Robertson) for Best Full-Length Documentary is…

Other Dream Team posterCongratulations from BallinEurope go out this morning to Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Day-Lewis, the Argo team, Jennifer Lawrence (swoon) and the other winners of Academy Awards last night. And now, it’s decision time here.

The annual bestowing of BallinEurope’s Oscar (Robertson) Awards for basketball excellence in 2012 has seen Thunderstruck, The Dream Team and The Harlem Globetrotters take awards in their individual categories, leaving the prize for “Best Full-Length Documentary” still to be awarded — and lemme tell ya, BiE has spent way too much time thinking it over this weekend.

The no-brainer nominee (and well worthy) is the long-awaited The Other Dream Team, which was finally released in 2012 after more than two years of buildup and production. And damn, was it worth the wait.

For those somehow not in the know on this film, The Other Dream Team tells the story of the 1992 Lithuanian men’s basketball team, a squad essentially assembled from scratch, rather like its home nation itself in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse. As with their Team USA counterparts in that fateful year (not to mention the silver-winning Croatia and even the fourth-place “Unified Team”), the scope of Team Lithuania’s story is huge. Unlike The Dream Team’s run to immortality in Barcelona, though, this team’s podium finish carried all the weight of history with more than a touch of good-humored wackiness.

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Jul
4

Twenty years ago today: The Barcelona Games

The 1992 Olympic Games, the Games of the XXV Olympiad: The first to be held without mass boycotts and, by many estimation, the greatest Olympics ever in presentation, hosting, and competition. It was the Games of Hungarian swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi, of Belorussian/Unified Team member Vitaly Scherbo in gymnastics, of the Russian men’s swimming team, of Cuban baseball – but most of all it was basketball that took center stage on the worldwide court in Barcelona.

On this day in 1992, the Dream Team, Team Croatia and Team Lithuania played in their first-ever Olympic basketball games. In memory of these fantastic, historically significant squads, BallinEurope presents some highlight clips from the ’92 Games.

Day one of 1992 Olympic basketball saw the tournament’s powers take care of business: tie-dyed Lithuania handled China, 112-75; Croatia bested Brazil, 93-76; and the stripped-down CIS/USSR side got past Venezuela, 78-64. Of course, the game the world was watching that day would be the biggest laugher of the entire competition: The Dream Team’s infamous 116-48 decimation of Angola.

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Feb
6

And the Oscar (Robertson) Goes To: Basketball Movies in 2011

Meanwhile, over in Hollywoodland … to no cineaste’s surprise, the silent film The Artist was named “Best Motion Picture of the Year” at the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony. While Tinseltown may have had a decent, if not mind-blowing, twelve months of production in 2011 – as evidenced by Woody Allen taking the “Best Original Screenplay” award for Midnight in Paris with his perhaps 24th- or 25th-best ever script – the year in basketball movies was disappointing to say the least.

In hindsight, no real possibility existed for the 2011 crop of hoops flicks to match the previous year’s output in terms of either quantity or quality, what with ESPN in the midst of its “30 for 30” documentary series. Eight basketball documentaries (nine if you include June 17, 1994) mostly well worth watching – spearheaded by the most excellent Once Brothers – were released in ’10 alongside the barely-seen Saints of Mt. Christopher. Plus, BallinEurope got to crack jokes at Common’s expense while enjoying fave Queen Latifah thanks to the essentially NBA-sponsored Hollywood flick Just Wright – who remembers that one?

And, of course, the artistic achievement of the 2009 tour de force, Who Shot Mamba? by former Yahoo Sports blogger/general comic genius at large has yet to be matched by any human endeavor, so one can’t fault the international film community for not approaching this one.

But come on! By BiE’s count, there were four major basketball film productions crafted in the year 2011. A pair of European documentaries saw no release outside their native countries (more on these below), while the compelling-sounding “Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story” is apparently still seeking a distributor. How is this possible? Just check out the official synopsis from producer/director Franklin Martin:

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Aug
4

Remembering the other two Dream Teams of 1992

On this day of 1992 Team USA’s well-deserved induction into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame, BallinEurope again takes the opportunity to remember those other two squads competing in the Barcelona Games whose impact on an international level was almost as great and whose impact at home was inestimable.

What the Dream Team gave to the international game, aside from the showcasing of quite simply the best side ever assembled by a long shot,* was a new measuring stick for talent, a definition of what national basketball pictures should aspire to produce. In Croatia and Lithuania, however, the national teams in some senses had already won before the Olympic torch was lit.

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