Proof that God reads our blog: Euroleague Basketball American Tour 2009

How titillating.

By: Freaknick

If ever there were an image that defines bliss, this is it.  When I saw that Euroleague emblem plastered against an American flag backdrop, my heart jumped for joy and I promptly sent Slam a text message with so many exclamation points you would think I’m a Jonas Brother.  Even though I was told months ago that this was in the works, seeing graphic proof is a completely different kind of satisfaction.  It’s like snooping around for your Christmas presents only to discover a brand new bicycle, but the pleasure doesn’t set in until you put your feet to the pedals and fly down your driveway.

So now, whether by bike, plane, railroad or gondola, Slam and I will embark on our pilgrimage to the various basketball Meccas that will be springing up in our nation this October. For the complete details on the event, check out the Euroleague press release, but here’s what to look for this October, game by game:

  • Don your shortest shorts and admire in the fundamentals.October 3 in Denver, Colorado: Partizan Belgrade vs. Denver Nuggets. After losing so much of last year’s core, will Partizan put on a good show as the Euroleague’s first ambassador?  And with depleted depth, will they be affected by the thin Rocky Mountain air?  Breathe easy, boys.
  • October 6 in Phoenix, Arizona: Partizan Belgrade vs. Phoenix Suns. This could be where Partizan strikes as Phoenix is a team in flux that is still capable of giving up easy buckets, especially if Amare Stoudemire isn’t in the mood to defend.  Also, will Goran Dragic get homesick and sneak onto Partizan’s return flight?
  • October 9 in  San Antonio, Texas: Olympiacos Piraeus vs. San Antonio Spurs. This game should be viewed through black and white glasses as this battle of the bigs will be about as old school as it gets.  Bank shots, hook shots, reverse pivots, post, pass and re-post; George Mikan would be proud.
  • October 12 in Cleveland, Ohio: Olympiacos Piraeus vs. Cleveland Cavaliers. I feel badly for Josh Childress.  I really do.  Of all the places for him to come showcase his Continue Reading…

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Posted 1 week, 2 days ago at 2:19 pm.

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A little less talk and a lot more action: Euroleague vs. NBA

By: Slam

Vroom, vrrom party starter...The NBA’s offseason is a horse and buggy ride.  You wait days and days to get to the next town, and usually when you get there it’s not all it was cracked up to be.  Conversely, the Euroleague transfer market is a blur seen out the passenger’s window of a Ferrari blazing down the Autobahn.  While the NBA world has been on pins and needles for the past year and a half waiting for 2010 free agent class, the Euroleague carefully appraises the list of free agents, raises an eyebrow and asks, “That’s it?”

While the Euroleague is also filled with more than its fair share of rumors and useless chatter, it almost always ends with action.  Every day there are new signings, deals, and transfers, and a 50% roster turnover for a given team is expected and often exceeded. When a perennial power such as Maccabi Electra has a disappointing season, they do something about it; they’ve already signed five new players including the Eurocup MVP Chuck Eidson, former NBA first rounder Maciej Lampe, and French Finals MVP David Bluthenthal.  The work is only half done, however, as five roster spots are still looking to be filled.

Think these transactions would shake up the NBA?  Well in the Euroleague, that's what's known as "boring" month.

In the NBA, a glorified role player like Trevor Ariza dominates free agent conversation for nearly a week, and now the same thing is going on with Lamar Odom.  In Europe, teams add not only starters, but stars almost on a daily basis, so even the transfer of a scoring ace like David Hawkins registers as merely a blip on the offseason radar.

Ho hum, no fun...Consider this: what if the Heat suddenly let Dwyane Wade walk? How about the Bulls letting Derrick Rose leave without much of a fight?  And if the Lakers watched Phil Jackson walk out the door?  It would be one shock after another, after another.  But in the Euroleague, that’s the reality.  Within the first month of the offseason, the league’s leading scorer (Igor Rakocevic), Rising Star award winner (Novica Velickovic), and most legendary active coach (Ettore Messina) all switched sides.

And why doesn’t Rakocevic mind leaving a Final Four caliber team for one that didn’t even make the Top 16 last year?  Because with so much player movement, you never know what a difference a year can make.

If you’re a fan of drama, then the NBA offseason is where you want to be.  The blogosphere, sports radio, and ESPN will surely provide plenty of hype, hearsay and fuzzy videos of Lebron kind of getting dunked on.  But if you’re in the mood for some action, then I highly recommend you swerve off the country road and merge onto the Euroleague express.

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Posted 1 week, 4 days ago at 1:00 am.

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Who the hell is Christian Eyenga?

Glad you asked.

And I wish I could help.

The sad truth is, once David Stern butchered the name of the Cavs first rounder, I grabbed my cell phone and my computer.  Neither device could immediately satisfy my Christian Eyenga curiosity.

So I made some calls, checked all the prospect sites (because ours admittedly didn’t foresee Danny Ferry’s genius), and here are Freaknick’s Five Fun Facts, Christian Eyenga style:

1. I spoke to a Euroleague source who says he recognized some of the clips that ESPN showed after Cleveland took him with the 30th pick.  ”I was at some of those games,” he told me.  ”And I don’t remember Christian Eyenga.”   Hmmm.

Your heart will get dunked on.

2. Christian hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Did you know that the DRC is the largest French-speaking nation in the world, with 66 million folks?  Take THAT Celine Dion.

3. There are only two other Congolese players in the NBA: 1) 4-time Defensive POY Dikembe Mutombo and 2) NBA Champion and Laker legend, DJ Mbenga.  While these two are known mostly for their defense, however, Eyenga is an offensive dynamo, averaging an astonishing 0.8 PPG in 4 games for DKV Joventut of the ACB League.

4. After extensive Googling and YouTubing, I couldn’t find that LeBron post-game interview I was looking for.  Remember?  After they lost to the Magic? When he said, “The only way we’re going to take our team to the next level is if we draft a virtual unknown Congolese player who averages under one point per game and probably won’t suit up in an NBA uniform until I’m a Knick.”

5. If you YouTube Christian Eyenga, the first video that comes up is the inspiring tale  of two hippies who raise a lion cub named Christian.  Frankly, it was the more entertaining of the two videos below.

Freaknick: out.

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Posted 1 month, 1 week ago at 5:42 pm.

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