|As the top scorer and most productive player on the team with the best record in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, FC Barcelona Regal big man Erazem Lorbek has certainly been one of the most important players in the competition this season. Lorbek has the experience, skill and physical attributes to be a major factor at the Final Four in Istanbul, as he and Barca look to regain the Euroleague crown they captured together two years ago. The All-Euroleague nominee has been a true pillar for the Spanish champs, anchoring the offense inside and rising to the occasion on defense for a team on a record-setting defensive pace. Shortly before he arrives at his fourth Final Four, Lorbek interacted with fans across the globe as a guest for the special pre-Final Four edition of Fan Mail, where he talked about several topics, including the other semifinal in Istanbul. "It is difficult to say who is strongest, Panathinaikos or CSKA. However, once you are in the final, if we make it, it doesn't really matter who we play against," Lorbek told one fan. "You have to beat the best team. We will focus on the semifinal and then we will see."
Hi Erazem, I’m a big fan of yours from Greece. I support Panathinaikos, so I ask you: Taking into consideration last year’s playoffs, do you like the idea of facing them in the final on Sunday to look for sporting revenge and prove which is the best team in the business? Thanks!
Ioannis Nikolaidis, Athens, Greece
"Thanks Ioannis. It would be really great. First, because you have the chance to face the team that beat you the year before with the chance to win the title. And second, because that would mean we have beaten Olympiacos and are in the final! It would be a good thing. Actually, it is difficult to say who is strongest, Panathinaikos or CSKA. However, once you are in the final, if we make it, it doesn't really matter who you play against. You have to beat the best team. We will focus on the semifinal and then we will see."
Hi Erazem. How do you personally prepare for an important game like the semifinal – and then the final? Good luck in the Final Four!
Michael Lazarou, Cyprus
"Thanks a lot for the good wishes, Michael. Actually, we have many difficult games during the season, so I prepare for such an important game as if it was one of them. We know there will be a lot of pressure and that makes it more difficult. If we make it to the final, then it is more difficult because the preparation is shorter, just one day. Basically, if the work you do throughout the season is consistent, that helps you a lot to play these games."
Dear Erazem, you are coming to Istanbul for the Final Four and my questions are: Are you excited to come to Istanbul? Which places would you like to visit in your spare time?
Ece Sonmez, Turkey
"Thank you, Ece. First of all, unfortunately we won't have time at all to see Istanbul. The Final Four will be a great tournament, as always, and I am excited to be part of it. Istanbul is a great city, one of the best in Europe. We won't be able to see anything this time around, but if I had time to do it, I would definitely go to the Grand Bazaar. Everybody should see it!"
Hello Lorbek! After playing for Benetton, Fortitudo and Virtus Roma throughout your great career, how would you like to play for Montepaschi Siena one day? I hope it happens! Good luck in Istanbul!
Mario Cimbrellini, Siena, Italy
"Thanks for your question, Mario. Montepaschi is a team with a lot of history and tradition. I have played in many teams in Italy and I wouldn't mind to be back one day, it is never impossible. I have been to Siena many times, not only when I played in Italy, but every year with Barcelona. It is a nice city. There is always a chance, you never know!"
Hello Erazem! Tell us what it is like in your basketball family when you get together. Do you talk about basketball all the time? All the best!
Blaz Gostecnik, Slovenia
"Thanks, Blaz… Yes, mostly! OK, right now not that much because we have children and it is more about family. We don't get all together that often, and when we get together, we spend time with the kids. Of course, we talk about basketball, but family comes first, no question about it."
Hey Erazem. How do you like living in Barcelona. What are your favorite places to visit and restaurants? See you around, go Barca!
Jordi Recasens i Vila, Barcelona
"Hello, Jordi, and thanks. Barcelona is a beautiful city. I think it is the best city in Europe to live in. The places to visit, or the ones I like the most, are Sagrada Familia and La Rambla, but there is a lot to see. There are so many restaurants; it is difficult to highlight just one, but Gorria is a great place."
Hello Erazem. How did you like your season with CSKA. Would it be special for you to face them in the Euroleague final! All the best, man!
Oleg Sinelnikov, Moscow, Russia
"Thank you, Oleg. Of course, facing CSKA would be special because I would play against some of the guys I worked with in the past. In Paris we played against CSKA in the semifinals. I had played the same game the year before, wearing the CSKA jersey. It was a bit emotional. It would be great to advance to the final and play against them, but again, it would be the Euroleague final and it would be tough no matter who we played. It was a great experience to play for CSKA. I improved a lot that season; it was my step forward to play at the highest level."
Hey Erazem, welcome to Istanbul! I am a Galatasaray fan. What do you think about the great support we gave our team when you played in our city? How do you like playing in such strong atmospheres? Good luck, see you at the Final Four!
Levent Nurkan, Istanbul, Turkey
"Thanks, Levent. I loved it; it is not something you see in every game, that kind of atmosphere. I was really surprised that they had such great fans. They have a great football team and their basketball team is very competitive, too. It was great to play against Galatasaray in Istanbul. There were so many flags in the stands! It was very emotional."
Dear Erazem! Hundreds of us will be travelling to Istanbul to see you play! Do you have a message for all the Barcelona fans that will come all the way to Turkey to support the club? Let's get it together!
Ernest Bonastre, Barcelona, Spain
"Thanks, Ernest! I hope we can take the trophy together! All I can promise the Barcelona fans is that we will give our best to thank them for their support not only in the Final Four, but throughout the season. Hopefully we can win the title and if we do, it will be dedicated to all of our fans, no question about it!"