Well. Here I am. Las Palmas, the semi-bustling co-capital of the semi-inhabited archipelago known as las Islas Canarias. One of Spain’s Autonomous Communities and the farthest phalange of the European Union, Gran Canaria lies 100 kilometers (aren’t I so Euro?) off of Morocco’s coast.
Yet basketball is played professionally, watched enthusiastically and apparently enjoyed even on Sunday afternoons the day after Spain sets their clocks forward. And I think that’s pretty damn cool. What if Tim Duncan could suit up and play for his hometown Virgin Island Vandals? Or if the Key West Crabs got in the LeBron sweepstakes this summer? Maybe the Guam Gangsters or the Samoan Scorpions could take John Wall in the draft, sign Chris Bosh and have a bright future. What about the Hawks playing the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors on a West Coast swing then heading to Hawaii for a two-game set against the Riptides? It probably wouldn’t be too easy on the wallets of execs, nor would environmentalists applaud those long plane flights; but I’m an unimportant blogger who likes basketball and beaches, so expanding to the islands sounds like a marvelous idea to me.
Now, to the game notes:
- Domen Lorbek looks just like older brother Erazem Lorbek would if he were skinnier, shorter, slightly quicker and worse at playing basketball.
- The Gran Canaria backcourt should give hope to any smaller kid who dreams of hooping professionally. Tomas Bellas is 1.85 meters tall on paper and shorter in real life but he’s sick with the rock. Oscar Alvarado is 1.84 meters and his weight is not listed. My guess is that the scale just didn’t register when he hopped on it.
- Lagun ARO’s David Doblas is that guy at your local YMCA who wears ankle braces, claps his hands a lot and screams at himself after every missed shot as if he usually shoots 100%. Whether YMCA or ACB, he’s not fooling anyone.
- I’ve watched a lot of basketball in my life, live and on television. I have season tickets to the Syracuse games and I’ve witnessed Duke’s Cameron Crazies in person. I have never seen a group of people so convinced that there are three traveling violations on every possession.
- Unlike in Fuenlabrada, Centro Insular Deportes has a video screen. Instead of replays, however, I’ve enjoyed a spectacular slideshow of advertisements for pizza and soy sauce. Yum.
- Sitapha Savané is among the league leaders in field goal percentage. He is also the proud owner of the ugliest free throw you have ever seen. If Anthony Mason and Shaquille had a baby, duct taped his hands and blindfolded him, that kid would look like Steve f***ing Kerr.
- Apparently the European Union requires all of its sports teams to have overgrown, fuzzy and effeminate puppies as mascots. I was not aware.
Gran Canaria wins 83-68. Now time to see if Jaycee Carroll wants to become Euroleague Adventures’ newest blogger. Wish me luck.