Saturday evening, May 2nd: It’s halftime at the Final Four. So what is my impression so far from the riots, games, fans, and of course the city?
Riots: I have not seen on single stone thrown, or even a person interested in starting a riot. If you have read our blog, this was a concern the Euroleague and even the German police had: that German protesters and Greek basketball fans might clash. Speaking of Greek fans and riots, the biggest concern and most communicated concern for the Euroleague was the game of Panathinaikos and Olympiakos. My personal impression was that this might have been a little bit too much: separate entrances, security people dividing the four fan block, a big black net in front of the fans behind the basket and no walking around in the arena.
Fans: Of course it was loud and of course the fans were really pumped up, but don’t you want this at a basketball game? Don’t you want the fans to be into the game to make it a special moment? I really think the Euroleague overreacted. Our press seats courtside are right in front of the Olympiakos fans and I did not feel threatened at any second: The fans actually talked to us and gave us some laughs.
Games: These games have been the two best games I have seen LIVE in the Euroleague competition so far, and I am sure the two games to come tomorrow will be great as well. I just have to talk about the 20 points in 10 minutes by Ramunas Siskauskas. Ramunas was and still is our one and only guy that we use on our site (look at the top left corner) and I am sure he is really close to gettin the MVP trophy once again. My first Euroleague final four was two years ago in Athens — when Panathinaikos played CSKA Msocow — just as this year. I was hoping for an Olympiakos vs. CSKA final, but I’m sure that Panathinaikos will also play a great game for the Euroleague trophy.
City: Thanks to Chris, we are in a great hotel close to o2 World with a great breakfast buffet that almost held me over the whole day. The system of trains, metro and “tram” is great, so moving through the city today was easy. I’m glad I brought my basketball shorts, since it’s really warm here. When I just got back from my sightseeing tour, the temperature in the room was so warm that I felt like I was on a tropical island!
Side note: On my sightseeing tour, I met a Greek friend that introduced me to Nikos Zisis’ family and girlfriend and I might join them for dinner later tonight. I am sure this will be a great Greek dinner in Berlin and would be a cool finish for today’s great day in Berlin.