Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 21, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
No better feeling!
Welcome back, basketball fans around the world. Once again, writing you all for the last time this Euroleague season, I am Kyle Hines, forward/center of the 2012 Euroleague champions, Olympiacos. Yes, you read that right! We did what many deemed unthinkable and impossible at the beginning of the season. We traveled to Istanbul, Turkey as the underdogs of the Final Four and left as THE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!
Wow, this season has been truly an amazing journey. As many of you know, at the beginning of the season Olympiacos was far from being considered a favorite to win the Euroleague title. We were called too young and inexperienced. They said we lacked the star power and big-name players to be considered serious contenders, that if we reached the Top 16, it should be considered a big success. We used this as motivation throughout the Euroleague season to continue to defy the naysayers and advance to where nobody thought it was possible for us to go.
I've now watched the finals game against CSKA a few times since we have won the championship. Everybody I have talked to has said that they thought it was one of the best games that they have ever seen - and not only in basketball! We were able to somehow come back from 19 points down and get the win. That game basically shows what has made our team special through the entire season. Our team's character and resilience has been the key to our success this year.
It still hasn't quite sunk in that we are the Euroleague champions. It has always been a goal of mine ¬– as I'm sure it is for many other players in Europe ¬– to win the Euroleague. I just didn't necessary think it would happen so early in my career. Two years ago, I was playing in the second division of Italy, and now I'm a part of the best team in all of Europe... Wow, I still can't believe it!
I'm really happy that I had the opportunity to accomplish this goal with the guys on our team. I think one of the major reasons why we have been able to be so successful is because of the chemistry and relationships that we have been able to build with each other throughout the season. I can honestly say, I've never been on a team like this, where all 16 players, coaches and staff all enjoy being with each other both on and off the court. Even without winning the Euroleague championship, this has been the most enjoyable season I've had in my basketball life.
The Olympiacos fans have been amazing the entire season. When we returned to the airport, there was thousands and thousands of fans waiting to celebrate with us. They then followed us all the way back to our arena to celebrate even more, shutting down all the highways on the way. I was surprised at how many people were there celebrating. I've never seen anything like it before. That ride home from the airport is something that I will never forget. Even in Istanbul, our fans were amazing; it felt like we were playing a home game. The Olympiacos fans deserved this championship; it had been 15 years since they were last able to celebrate a title. I'm happy that we were the team that was able to bring the championship celebration back to Piraeus.
I want to say thank you to all the Turkish Airlines Euroleague fans around the world for reading all my blogs throughout the entire season and also for the continue support to you have shown to my teammates and me. We proved this season that it isn't important to have the biggest budget or the biggest stars in order to win. If you have a strong team desire and the will to fight and believe, then anything is possible. No longer can they call us too young, inexperienced or underdogs. All they can call us now is…………………. CHAMPIONS!!!!!!
Kyle Hines - Piraeus, Greece
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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No better feeling!
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