If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a YouTube clip worth? Even at tenfold the still image, the figure probably still wouldn’t be high enough for the Tolstoyesque level of descriptive prose necessary to capture the insanity that was the final, say, 12 minutes of the 2012 Euroleague championship final between 17/1 underdogs Olympiacos and heavily-favored CSKA Moscow.
The guys from Euroleague Adventures sure tried while Sinan Erdem Arena rocked and BallinEurope sat in stunned silence at *the* comeback story – regular-season, playoffs and final – that was Olympiacos, 2011-12 edition.
BiE writes this is the hotel following the game after that sort of halcyon taxi ride believed by many to exist only in the movies. Splitting a cab with three Russians loaded with gear and paraphernalia, driven by a Turkish taxi driver and the four armed with far less than 1,000 English words between them, the conversation was mostly about colors and teams. It went something like this.
Cabbie: Olympiacos, champions?
Russian #1: Yes…
Cabbie: Olympiacos and Panathinaikos hate, no?
Russian #2 and 3: Yes, yes.
Cabbie: So, Olympiacos red and yellow?
Russian #1: No, Olympiacos red and white.
Cabbie: And Panathinaikos green?
Russian #1: Green and white.
Cabbie: Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe too hate. Very bad. Football match. They play, they hate.
Russians: (continue with discussion in Russian language)
And still BiE sat stunned in the front seat, left with the echoing question: What in the name of Naismith happened? What was that 16-0 run? What was up with the lack of scoring through three quarters beyond Vassilis Spanoulis, Pero Antic and Kostas Papanikolaou? (Papanikolaou!) How did Milos Teodosic self-destruct so badly in 10 minutes after coolly leading the monstrous CSKA throughout?
No answers were forthcoming, and the questions were distracting enough so that BiE hardly noticed the inch-wide gap between cars sharing a one-lane road at a good 80 kilometers per hour.
Quicker than an Olympiacos comeback, though, the ride was over. BiE departed still shaking his head. Wishing the Muscovites a good evening, BiE left with a “Sorry about CSKA.” Russian #1, clearly the most “fluent” among the troika, replied, “Oh, we don’t care about that.”
Yeah, surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre. Not much. But just wait until the numbness wears off.