We have a couple of treats in store next week but before that, we’ve taken the time to select the best writing on the site over the past 10 years, join us on a journey through the highs, the lows, the deep dives, and the tearful goodbyes
Between game analysis, player profiles, addressing big issues, and some random stuff, we’ve produced a lot of content on BiE over the past decade. We want to produce more but here we’re sharing a selection of the best writing from the past decade.
The goal is to be able to stand over a list like this annually, it turns out 2015 and 2017 could have easily had lists of their own to be honest. We probably won’t be there in 2020 but I really believe we will be there by 2021.
For now, enjoy the best of BiE from the last 10 years. Just click on the headlines to go into the articles.
Stunning Slovenia shock Spain to enter dreamland
Published: 14 September 2017
“For Slovenia this was the biggest game in the tiny nation’s basketball history. A shot at a first final in EuroBasket, the final chance for Goran Dragic, and a monster of a test for wunderkind Luka Doncic.
For Spain, it was Thursday.”
Having won the game of the tournament over Latvia to earn a shot at Spain in the semi finals, Slovenia took a sledgehammer to the side that had dominated the continent through the guts of the century to date.
Draft Profile: Kristaps Porzingis
Published: 1 June 2015
“Wherever he goes in the draft here’s a little BiE Prediction… Kristaps should go down as the best talent to ever come out of Latvia.”
Sam Chadwick has to make some big bets when assessing what a player might be at the next level but he did a great job foreseeing the upside for Unicorn and how it was going to involve making a GM believe in his game.
Interview: FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann
Published: 13 Feb 2018
“Basketball is not yet where football is but I’m almost sure that will happen. [We are seeing] more countries are getting organised, the more players unions are getting better and some of them are already helping players a lot. Maybe we’re not there yet at European level or world level, because FIFPro is obviously more than just Europe.”
When I interviewed Patrick Baumann, nobody could have foreseen his tragic and sudden passing, on duty representing FIBA at another tournament. His job brought him around the world and I consider myself fortunate to have been able to interview him.
Sergey Belov: A Soviet Icon
Published: 14 October 2013
“Belov was not just a player. He was a symbol, captain, mentor and a manager. He was not a type of person who would be afraid of taking responsibility during the dark 90s of Russia Federation.”
Uygar Karaca does a whole lot of great work with Eurosport and this contribution he made to the site six years ago is a piece I still find myself coming back to.
Pinar Karsiyaka take Turkish title with 4-1 series win over Efes
Published: 9 June 2015
“A series format is supposed to prevent small clubs from killing off giants. A series is meant to be where the power clubs of Europe are able to overcome off nights and show their supremacy over the course of several games.”
It’s tough to pick one piece from the summer of Karisyaka in 2015. It was incredible to follow so we’ve gone for the climax. This was the culmination of a run to an unexpected Turkish title fuelled by some insanely dramatic games that saw them whup Fenerbahce and Efes in a pair of series that few saw coming.
Old man power fuels Turner to another final
Published: 7 January 2017
“There’s a song called Mo Ghile Mear over here. It roughly translates as my one and only but it really means my do all everything everyday bad baaaad man who is always there when it matters.”
Maybe it’s because middle age is creeping in but it’s really easy to write about players at the tail ends of their careers having one last monster night. This time it was Turner who got hurt, got back up, and got the job done.
The Way of the Warriors
Published: 26 March 2019
“A couple of UCD fans beside me were seriously considering booking flights to Farranfore for the next morning. This game was won and now the title was there to be fought for in Tralee. UCD had accomplished the first part of the deal.
Then they didn’t.”
The only piece I’ve picked from 2019. It’s not that we had a bad year, far from it, but I find it’s too easy to love more recent work so I’ve opted to just make the one pick where I covered an intense final weekend in the Irish Super League season.
No seriously, we have a book and it’s a great Christmas present. Buy it for yourself or your friends now to support the work we do here.
A rainy day in Lille
Published: 14 September 2015
“There’s an alley right at the start of the 1km walk to Ports de Douai station. The rain came and boom, plans needed fixing. After taking shelter on a kerb below a bush I watched the flood. With zero rain gear, a tattered jacket that hasn’t closed in several years, and a light grey t-shirt it was way too heavy to walk.”
Occasionally, especially during tournaments, things get a bit weird and that Saturday in Lille was one of them. This inside baseball type piece is about covering games rather than a piece where a game is covered.
Davide against Goliath
Published: 14 April 2017
“As regularly as doubts surrounded him, he has instead showed he could not only hang on to such ever increasing competition, but also be a dominating yet discreet force.”
Nicolò Origgi’s love for the Italian game shines through whenever he writes. His profiles of ballers who rarely make the headlines are a joy to read. This one, on Davide Pascolo, looked at a underrated baller shining while his team stank.
Pau fights to the last as Spain overcome France in OT thrillerPublished: 17 September 2015
“Another lay-up by Pau, then a pair of defensive rebounds. His body was crying out for mercy but his heart was all in on this game. Gobert went up and Pau put him down.”
It turns out the autumn of 2015 was just a feast for the site in terms of our better stuff. If you had told me on this night in Lille that Pau would still be going over four years later, and would win a second World Cup along the way, I’d have been stunned. This looked like the last stand of an old warrior but what a stand to witness.
The Players demand a voice
Published: 12 June 2017
“Players have limited representation as it stands so collectively bargaining makes sense. Getting one together won’t be simple. There jurisdictions are many and labour laws within them vary wildly. While Aaron Jackson would be significantly less compensated playing in the British Basketball League, he’d certainly have more rights as a worker than he does in Russia.”
The need for a union in basketball was known for quite a while. One night on Twitter in the summer of 2017, Europe’s ballers made their voices heard. Now, there is the ELPA and the potential for more is out there.
The Romanian formula for a basketball derby
Published: 11 February 2015
“We got a bit late at the game, so by that time the arena was already on lockdown. I had no issue entering the game as a member of the press but for the Steaua fan it was a bit more tricky.”
Andre Britz does some great video work but he showed in this piece that he’s a dab hand as a storyteller too. BiE has always been about shining the light on lesser spotted basketball scenes and Andre did a great job telling the story of Asesoft Ploeisti and Steaua Bucharest in Romania’s biggest rivalry.
Ireland win first ever promotion to A division with victory over Poland
Published: 12 August 2017
“The Saw Doctors have a song called To Win Just Once. We used to be ok with one heroic effort but as Ireland came out of the time out this was a greedy nation. We’d beaten our neighbours to secure this seeding. We’d beaten Israel to secure this chance. Now we wanted to beat Poland to take it.”
Before the extraordinary Eurobasket that began a few weeks later, BiE had one of its most emotional ever nights as the Irish U18 women made history in front of a ravenous home crowd to earn promotion to the top tier.
BONUS: The Saras – A burger fit for a Euroleague legend
No excerpt here as it’s a video. In 2015 I had an idea for a series that was mothballed after its lone episode. The idea was simple, as ballers what their favourite burger toppings were and then try it out. The one we did try, named for Sarunas Jasikevicius, was an absolute delight.