Turkish basketball club Fenerbahce won Europe’s top basketball club competition, the Euroleague, yesterday evening by beating Olympiakos of Greece convincingly, 80 to 64.
Fenerbahce was fortunate that this year’s final four and hence final took place in Istanbul, Turkey. The location of the final four and hence final is determined at the beginning of the season and a finalist team from the country where the final is played ends up enjoying the overwhelming support of the local crowd. This was certainly the case for Fenerbahce yesterday night.
But while the crowd contributed to the large 16 point victory, Fenerbahce would have likely won wherever the game was played. They simply outplayed their opponents from start to finish.
I congratulate the Fenerbahce players, club, and fans on their excellent season long performance and well deserved victory.
I played basketball for the first time in about 7 years yesterday.
I used to play regularly when I was on my school’s Elementary School, Middle School, and High School basketball teams. I stopped playing regularly in college. However, during college and business school I would still play casually whenever I got the chance.
Unfortunately that stopped when I started working after business school. That is until yesterday.
As soon as I started playing I immediately fell back in love with the feel of the basketball in the palm of my hand, the sound of sneakers on the hardwood floor, and the amazing feeling of sinking a long range jumper.
What have you not done for 7 years or more? If you’re fortunate enough to still be able to do it, why not give it a shot this weekend?
Last year, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship by defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4 games to 2.
In a post about last year’s finals, I wrote that although the Cavaliers’ LeBron James is the best player in the world, his individual performance wasn’t enough to overcome the Warriors’ collective performance. Specifically, I wrote that “… nine different Warriors [scored] in double digits at least once during the series …”
This year, the Cavaliers won the same match up 4 games to 3 after falling behind 3 games to 1. And a big part of the reason why is because two things changed. And these things are related to each other.
First, LeBron James was more humble. Although the Cavaliers fell behind 3 games to 1, giving the Warriors 3 chances to close out the series, LeBron James didn’t respond by stating that he’s the best player in the world. This time, he recognized that for Cleveland to win, he needs his teammates. This was reflected in the second change whereby six Cavs scored in double digits at least once during the series.
While that’s not quite as impressive as the nine Warriors who showed the same performance in last year’s finals, basketball is played with five players. So six players, including the best player in the world, playing well was just enough.
Despite their improved team play, the Cavs still could have come up short. The final game of the series was tied at 89 with 1 minute and 40 seconds remaining, and Andre Iguodala of the Warriors seemed to be headed for an easy layup when LeBron James came, seemingly out of nowhere, to block the shot. The Cavs went on to win 93-89.
So having the best player in the world on a great team helps. Here’s the block to recognize that.