The recent Euro Basketball Championships 2017 was one of the most enjoyable in recent history. To those that know history, however, Eurobasket 2017 suffered a metaphysical dilemma (a philosophical concern with the fundamental nature of reality). Was FIBA Eurobasket 2017 a victim of money or disloyalty to country?
The Bad News
Experience teaches that in certain important matters the best bet is to give the bad news before the good news. So: In the exact moment money enters sport it is no longer sport. We all know that moment; It’s when winning is no longer its own reward. It’s when the game played against your brother or friends becomes a game of personal interest$, need$ and goal$. That time is now in Euro Basketball.
FIBA Eurobasket 2017 was about brotherly love or its absence. For many Euro VIP’s (Very Important Players)– money rather than love was the motive behind not appearing at this Euro Basketball event! Get this! Seven of the nine French NBA players were absent and so were Antetokoumpo, Dorsey, Ilyasova, Asik, Kanter, Vesely, Balvin, Gortat, Len, Fesenko, Bilan, Lampe, Kleber and Karasev! This Eurobasket 2017 is being called a championship of “The Best of the Rest” ¡Vamos! Second rate.
Some say, “Any team that showed up at this Euro Basketball tournament with a complete roster had a chance at a medal”. This is true. Although some missed due to injury. Nowitzki, Gallinari, Bargnani, Batum, Gobert, Causeur, Parker, Fernandez, Ibaka, Mirotić, Llull, Jokić, Bjelica, Raduljica and Teodosić were also “no-shows”, creating concern for the future and FIBA market images – It’s OK by me if some stars stay away as I’d rather see team-ball anyway and I’m actually expecting some block-heads to describe this with an “Evolution of the Game” theory like the bloody moving blocks on the court!
I’ve learned one fact in this sports life. In general; what you give is what you get back. It is a disgrace when those that owe and can, do not; especially considering that most of us would surrender our right arms to participate. Eurohoops is in danger folks.
The Good News
The good news is easy. The National Teams at the recent FIBA Eurobasket 2017 were playing the game not for the money but for country and team. And that brought out the very best of all. That extra pass, the individual sacrifices and the pride in their work made this Eurobasket 2017 tournament a memorable one that concluded but did not end with a battle between brothers in arms, Slovenia and Serbia.
Spain’s XL Brothers
Two brothers XL and “La Bomba” at EuroBasket 2017 was the scene of the end of an era for FIBA’s World ranked #2 Spain. We watched the XL Gasols with little “brother” Juan Carlos Navarro walk into the light at the end of a historic tunnel. Their bronze medal win at the Eurobasket 2017 was a dedicated, official adios to “La Bomba” Navarro. A shooting star if there ever was one. Gasols XL and Navarro, renowned “hermanos” through hundreds of battles, will be no more.
Brothers in Arms
These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms.
Written by Mark Knopfler
Serbia, Slovenia – Twin Brothers
After a united history and the wars in-between, Yugoslavia became many country/states. Slovenia was one of the first. In 26 years and with only two million citizens it is producing world-class players.
In the Euro 2017 grand final, Slovenia was just a tiny bit more team (and a complete roster) while Serbia was without VIP’s Nikola Jokić, Miloš Teodosić, and a few others. The win was determined by just a “pinch” more inspiration than brother Serbia this time. Anthony Randolph was the hero against Spain in the Semis and Slovenia kept finding more “big shots” while always an example of “team”; an example of champions and brothers in arms, not in money. Euro Basketball deserves better.
On-court organization and variety were the Serbian team’s trademark up to and including the Euro 2017 final. The execution, effective rotations, and traps; high low post work with angles automatic, spacing supreme and designated rebounders on each and every possession. Good stuff.
With Mačvan and Bogdanović and role players galore Serbia was the worthy opponent for the title. Great fundamentals within the Serbian school of toughness. This was a blood- brother battle and the Serbians, especially when challenged, don’t back down.
Slovenia Brothers and Younger Brothers
The Euro Basketball note: The young Luka Dončić is the youngest player included in a European Basketball Championship All-Star team since Lithuanian great Arvydas Sabonis back in 1983. An Honorable Mention goes to shooting guard Klemen Prepelič: A silent killer.
Meanwhile, in recent Eurobasket competitions, not any one player since Croatia’s Drazen Petrović has so dominated a game as Goran Dragić did in the first half of this Eurobasket 2017 final. And don’t forget, after Goran Dragić, there is Luka Dončić, a sensation.
Euro Basketball 2017 Metaphysics Wins
There is a happy ending to this story. It’s said that no one remembers the second man to climb Mount Everest. This was pure basketball- like back when. At this European Basketball Championship, Serbia will be remembered as the other half of a fraternal battle fought not for money and not for show but for winning for winning sake. Yes, of course, the gold was there; but this was more. It was twin brothers, separated only by a quarter century, armed and defending the right to finish first. So they too won and not the money.
These days FIBA Eurobasket 2017 is as close as we get to purity in pro sports and where twin brothers set a gold standard.
*To that end: Only different, “schools of thought” divide these twin countries and allows something to explore and discuss next @ Courtside: The Yin and Yang of Coaching.