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BiE’s official Irish awards ballot +++ Joakim Noah wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year +++ Swee’ Pea makes the cut – Reaches Funding Target +++ The Dish – Too Rude for Masai Uijiri +++ The BBL experience – Rowdy in Frankfurt +++ Fearless predictions: Euroleague playoffs +++ A Dario triple-double? Now that’s good timing +++ Swee’ Pea needs your help +++ Final Four: What the bookies say when the bookies talk +++ The greatest Eurodance tribute to Goran Dragic ever +++
Nov
2

On Barack Obama and basketball diplomacy

Note: This piece was first published in February 2012.

Hosting dignitaries and politicos from Italy this week, U.S. president/basketball devotee Barack Obama recently gave an interview to the visiting media as well, naturally taking time to praise Italia’s representatives in the NBA. As self-proclaimed scholar of basketball diplomacy – perhaps the only one on the planet – Enrico Cellini has noticed that Obama’s effusive acclaim for Danilo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli is in fact quite similar to the prez’s gushy quotes on Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur back in 2009…

In a rare interview between an American president and an Italian newspaper, Barack Obama went through a wide variety of topics ranging from the state of the current Euro Crisis, through the turmoil in Syria to the importance of Italian-Americans in US society: “Italy can be proud that its sons and daughters continue to make invaluable contributions to the success of the United States and to our bilateral partnership”.

Of course, Obama didn’t miss the chance to deploy his trademark basketball diplomacy and dropped the following grand finale for the interview: “Of course, I have to add that guys like Danillo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli bring some pretty good game to the NBA, too.

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Feb
1

Why won’t Vladimir Micov dunk? Because “two points is two points”

BallinEurope finally got some time to catch up on some past-due internet reading this weekend, including the immortal Javier Gancedo’s interview with Euroleague Top 16 assist leader Vladimir Micov of Bennet Cantù, perhaps the revelation of European basketball in 2011-12. In the Q&A, Micov touches on subjects including his personal success, Cantù fans and the upcoming match against Maccabi Tel Aviv. But it’s the answer to the following question which will truly capture the imaginations of the dunk-centric fan…

EL: Is it true that you never dunk? And if so, why not?

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Feb
5

Basketball diplomacy: Obama plagiarizes self in praise of Danilo Gallinari, Marco Belinelli

Hosting dignitaries and politicos from Italy this week, U.S. president/basketball devotee Barack Obama recently gave an interview to the visiting media as well, naturally taking time to praise Italia’s representatives in the NBA. As self-proclaimed scholar of basketball diplomacy – perhaps the only one on the planet – Enrico Cellini has noticed that Obama’s effusive acclaim for Danilo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli is in fact quite similar to the prez’s gushy quotes on Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur back in 2009…

In a rare interview between an American president and an Italian newspaper, Barack Obama went through a wide variety of topics ranging from the state of the current Euro Crisis, through the turmoil in Syria to the importance of Italian-Americans in US society: “Italy can be proud that its sons and daughters continue to make invaluable contributions to the success of the United States and to our bilateral partnership”.

Of course, Obama didn’t miss the chance to deploy his trademark basketball diplomacy and dropped the following grand finale for the interview: “Of course, I have to add that guys like Danillo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli bring some pretty good game to the NBA, too.

Continue Reading…

Nov
1

Anton Larsen: “One great player to give Denmark hope”?

Denmark is one rarely associated with great basketball; indeed, the men’s national team is ranked no. 111 in the current FIBA standings, putting them well behind basketball powers such as Liberia and Togo.

Despite it all, suggests Tom Schad in the Copenhagen Post Online, “Denmark could become world beaters in basketball.” Citing the examples of Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Yao Ming, Schad argues that it only takes “one great player to give a country hope” in its national basketball program, and “For Denmark, maybe that player is about to arrive.”

That would be Anton Larsen, currently with Old Dominion University.

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Feb
3

Vesely named FIBA Europe young player of 2010

[Editor's note: BallinEurope apologizes for a previous edition of this piece which incorrectly identified Jan Vesely as having rights owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder. This was a grievous error of which you surely need not know details. Rest assured that the infinite number of monkeys formerly ravaging the BiE headquarters are now under control of the proper authorities. Thank you for your patience.]

Jan Vesely was yesterday named FIBA Europe’s Young Men’s Player of the Year for 2010, nipping three-time winner (!) Ricky Rubio for the honors. Both fans and a panel of experts voted, with the tallies weighted to produce a final score.

How close was the race between Vesely and Rubio? Vesely received some 53 more popular votes than The Human YouTube Clip of 97,079, a difference of less than 0.06%; in the expert vote, Vesely scored 14 points higher than Rubio of a total 693, or just about a 2% margin.

Finishing third overall was 19 year-old Jonas Valanciunas, currently of Lietuvos Rytas; Andrew Albicy, currently of Paris-Levallois; and “Free” Enes Kanter, currently in basketball limbo thanks to forces beyond his control.

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Dec
0

Practice? Not for Steve Francis, who’s out in China

For all those debating the wisdom and/or point of Allen Iverson’s playing in Turkey, BallinEurope asks you to consider the career of Steve Francis in China, which, according to an early-morning report today, is over after just 13 days and four games.

The Beijing Shougang Ducks will cut Francis today, a day after his second consecutive DNP was recorded and two days after he refused to attend a practice on Christmas Day.

Francis had played a total of 14 minutes for the team and naturally clashed with coach Min Lulei; according to local news Francis became “quickly frustrated with Min over his lack of minutes and felt as if the team was merely using him to sell tickets and merchandise.” Min cited conditioning as a key factor in Francis’ lack of playing time.

“I don’t know if other coaches would give him the minutes he wants, but the whole team has been working hard in practice,” said Min to media. “Actually, I had planned to let him play today but the first quarter we got down by too much.”

Francis’ debut consisted of all of 17 seconds in the fourth quarter. In his second appearance with the Ducks, Francis managed two fouls and two turnovers versus one assist and zero points in four minutes of play against Shandong.

Yao Ming’s long-time former teammate also generated a little controversy in CBA land when he was caught flipping off referees in derision after a technical foul call on a teammate.

A source close to the situation was quoted as saying, “[Francis] didn’t fly all the way out to China to just sit on the bench.”

The disastrous experiment now over, Francis is expected to return to the ‘States before the end of 2010.

Jul
4

Kobe Bryant: “European player development superior to that of U.S.”

In lieu of preparing for the 2010 FIBA World Championship with Team USA (sigh), Kobe Bryant has been visiting China this week as part of a promotional tour the locals are calling “Kobe 24 Live.” (Read: Kobe’s in Asia hocking basketball shoes.)

Putting in an appearance yesterday afternoon at 4.20pm in Changchun, Kobe signed a few autographs and dutifully commented on all things basketball for an adoring public – nothing unusual there.

However, what was unusual – and o so gratifying for fans of European basketball – was Bryant’s shout-out to The Continental method of developing players. From an English-language story running this morning from China’s national press agency Xinhua, Kobe was a bit fancifully quoted through a translator and back again, but the message on several topics was quite clear.

On what other countries need to learn from NBA and American basketball system, Kobe gave a surprising answer, and he said: “I believe that the system works best right now is not the US system, I believe it is the European system. Because they develop basketball players, and they teach them the skills. I think the European system has jumped over US system.”

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Jun
3

2010 FIBA World Championship odds: Looking for a dark horse {advertorial}

So call BallinEurope kooky: While everyone else with an eye on basketball – even European basketball, for Arvydas Sabonis’ sake – is concentrating on the NBA free-agent market, BiE is all attention on the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Men tipping off in Turkey in August.

Naturally, bookmakers too are into it and the early odds for the FIBA World Championship are up, including props on outright winner, group winners and even game one matches available at BallinEurope.com sponsor SportingBet.

Unfortunately, the SportingBet “2010 FIBA World Championship for Men Outright Winner” prop bet is merely that; no “each way” betting allowing punters to bet on the second-place finisher: a key wager in this tourney, should you be one of the teeming majority reckoning Team USA is the prospective runaway champion of this thing. The odds table looks like the following.

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Jun
2

Kobe likely addition to no-shows for 2010 FIBA World Championship

The folks at FIBA are referring to the upcoming 2010 World Championship tournament in Turkey as a “Giant Get-Together,” but with every passing day it seems the meeting gets just a bit smaller.

In seemingly the first mention of such an exclusion, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo lumped Kobe Bryant in with confirmed or near-confirmed Team USA no-shows such as Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony in the ‘paper on Friday.

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Jan
20

Is Dirk Nowitzki really the greatest European NBA player ever?

“When it’s all said and done Dirk will end up being the greatest European basketball player to ever play in the NBA, if he isn’t already.” So ran the tangential line from within a story at Bleacher Report entitled “A New Decade: A New Future.”

Though this contention is taken for granted in the U.S., in this instance the mention of Nowitzki’s preeminence was a stopper. Perhaps it was the prospect of reading more on the really very awful New Jersey Nets or just the simple acknowledgement of a mostly utterly non-clutch player (in the NBA) as the league’s finest ever, but such a premise deserves further inspection.

To the straight-up statistics first – we’ll talk intangibles and relative career success a bit further on – shows one monster compilation of stats indeed. Nowitzki’s career highlights in the NBA include:

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