Just what it should be about: Eight different nations in the Quarter-Finals
ZAGREB (Croatia) - We should make Toto Cutugno's Insieme the theme song of the Quarter-Finals. He had all the key ingredients in it, way back in 1990, when he sang we should all unite, unite, Europe.
Now, I was a kid back then, and I just remember a guy looking like Roberto Baggio in an oversized way-too-white suit singing with passion, right here in Zagreb, Croatia, where the Eurovision Song Contest 1990 was held.
(And if you are an American and reading this, now is probably the time that I have to explain to you that there is such a thing in which each European country selects a song to represent it at the summit, called Eurovision Song Contest.
Then, a whole lot of cheesiness happens with singers and bands from all over Europe, and some three or four hours later, we vote for a Eurovision Song Contest winner - a song which received the most votes from all around Europe.
Then, about 15 minutes later, nobody remembers the song, except for the host, the winner and a random four year old kid, who's wondering why a guy looking like Roberto Baggio in an oversized way-too-white suit is singing on TV. In a weird language, too.)
Anyway, without further ado - here's Toto, singing how we should all unite, unite.
I know, I know, he doesn't look one bit like Roberto Baggio. But back when I was a kid, I thought all Italians looked like Roberto Baggio. Okay, I'm done now with the singing, I promise, and getting to the point - 29 years after this video was recorded, the Basketball Champions League did what Toto sang about, and united, united this continent!
Because, amazingly, we will have eight different nations in the Quarter-Finals, which is what none of us dared to dream about, let alone talk about it. And it's just proving the point we had in mind when we started our adventure called the Basketball Champions League - there is unbelievable basketball being played all over Europe, not just by "big" clubs and even bigger budgets. And not just in your typical countries with rich basketball tradition.
Why I love @BasketballCL - eight different nations represented in the Quarter-Finals:— Igor Curkovic (@IgorCurkovic) March 13, 2019
🇪🇸 Tenerife v Jerusalem 🇮🇱
🇧🇪 Antwerp v Nizhny Novgorod 🇷🇺
🇮🇹 Bologna v Nanterre 🇫🇷
🇬🇷 AEK v Bamberg 🇩🇪
Just look at the diversity of basketball styles here. You want the 2014 San Antonio Spurs kind of ball movement? Okay, here you go, Iberostar Tenerife are the team for you. You want pure athleticism in the frontcourt, paired with an elite sharp shooter and a pass first point guard in the backcourt? Sure, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem are your new favorite outfit.
Maybe you believe that youngsters can matchup with anybody, no matter how much more experienced the other guys are? Congrats, you just became Telenet Giants Antwerp fans! Or do you prefer aggressive defense and slick tactical drawings and tricks from the bench? Perfect, Nizhny Novgorod will be there for your viewing pleasures.
Shame that @o_tate_ missed the Monta Ellis 360 layup, but Ismael Bako is here to clean up the mess!— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) March 13, 2019
📺 https://t.co/KYh4DMAJ6P @AntwerpGiants #BasketballCL #Road2Final4 pic.twitter.com/dFyc0GalTT
What? You never heard of those Antwerps and Nizhnys and new teams? You need someone with sublime tradition and "oh this brings back some memories" kind of atmosphere? Eccellente, Segafredo Virtus Bologna's games are just what you need, with the gigantic Black V at center court. And if that doesn't do the trick, you will surely fall in love with the shooting of Nanterre 92 once you tune in for that Virtus game.
And if all of those were not enough for you, we still have the defending champs AEK up for grabs, who just keep on finding ways to bring the trophies back home. Nah, just forget it. You probably couldn't care less about teams, you are here for the close games and clutch finishes, right? Just click the Brose Bamberg tab, and you'll stay tuned for a long time, I promise you.
Amazing. Eight completely different teams, from eight completely different basketball schools and eight completely different basketball philosophies. All united, like in that theme song from six paragraphs ago, all with the same dream of playing elite European ball, waving their country's flag and searching for everlasting international glory in front of packed stands.
I am completely biased, because I've been with this competition since the ball got tipped off in the Kataja Basket v Sodertalje Kings Qualifying Rounds in 2016. But, man... It feels like this League just keeps on giving you reasons to fall in love with it, and makes you dream of European success for your own team, no matter how big or small it is.
And that's what it all should be about, really.
The Basketball Champions League's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA or the Basketball Champions League.
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