The 2011 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Barcelona last week met the definition of a global sporting event and then some based on the number of media professionals who came from around the world to witness it and person and the number of countries to which they sent their video, pictures, reports, blogs, tweets and other live coverage. In addition to 42 broadcasters transmitting live to 172 countries on five continents - including for the first time in China to an estimated 500 million households - there were almost 700 journalists from 36 countries accredited to work at the 2011 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Below, some excerpts of their coverage:
The five stars finally become six!
by Spyros Polychronopoulos
"Mission in Barcelona: the 'five star' logo is not valid anymore! Panathinaikos beat Maccabi 78-80 in the grand final of the Euroleague at Palau Sant Jordi and won its sixth European title in club history, tying CSKA Moscow on the all-time lists! The Greens returned to the top of Europe for the first time since 2009. The new European champion proved what everybody knows on the floor, breaking the game in the third quarter and essentially ending the game. The band's director was Zeljko but a bulldozer named Batiste, Sato, the bionic Diamantidis, Fotsis and Nick Calathes also helped."
Greek basketball team Panathinaikos win Euroleague Final Four tournament
“Thousands of Greeks fans among the 16,000 supporters in the Palau San Jordi helped provide a magnificent atmosphere and the side which had knocked reigning champions Barcelona out in the quarterfinals showed itself to be the worthy winners.”
Panathinaikos is proud of its new Greek god
by Josep Margalef
"All the gods on Olympus have been joined by a flesh-and-blood one called Dimitris Diamantidis. In this Euroleague season, which closed with the sixth European title for his team, Panathinaikos Athens, he has broken all records in the top European competition by getting four awards - Euroleague MVP, Final Four MVP, Best Defender and All-Euroleague guard."
Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy)
Always champions - Diamantidis and Obradovic are kings of Europe
by Luca Chiabotti
"Fantastic. Just a word to describe the triumph of Zelimir Obradovic, Dimitris Diamantidis and Mike Batiste. Panathinaikos only suffered in the last two minutes, when fullcourt pressure, added to Lior Eliyahu's talent, helped Maccabi to go from -12 to -5. Maccabi even got within four points with 19 seconds left but Panathinaikos gave the ball to Batiste against less powerful opponents after a perfect play. This shows the magnitude of Panathinaikos and his coach, the most successful man in European club basketball history, eight titles as a coach, one more than the seven won on the floor by Dino Meneghin."
The clover has six leaves
"David Blatt of Maccabi Tel Aviv is a great coach. We must therefore hope he doesn't become a victim of the Ettore Messina syndrome. Messina, a four-time Euroleague winner, has lost the three finals he has played against Panathinaikos and Zelijko Obradovic; with Virtus Bologna (2002) and CSKA Moscow (2007, 2009). Such is the strength of the Serbian coach as to propose insoluble basketball equations. (...) Blatt will have another chances to make Maccabi win its sixth Euroleague title. Obradovic will look for more alternatives."
Disappointed, Maccabi players start looking ahead
by Maayan Efrat
"A quiet night flight seems to have been just the long-sought break that Maccabi Tel Aviv players needed after losing the Euroleague basketball final Sunday and enduring a run of several crazy days, including a final round of autographs and picture-taking at Barcelona's airport. After that, even the annoying interviews at Ben-Gurion International Airport may have seemed suddenly harmless. What's five cameras after having to deal with 50 of them every practice?"
Real GM (United States)
The Euroleague Alternative
by Christopher Reina
"If the NBA ultimately endures a season-long NBA lockout and the 2012 NBA Finals are cancelled, the 2012 Euroleague Final Four in Istanbul will ascend to fill its role as the world's most important professional championship...for North Americans waking up on a Sunday morning, watching the Euroleague title game should hold at least a passing amount of intrigue. As the Internet has increased accessibility, the Euroleague has unquestionably become exponentially more popular in the United States."
MUNDO DEPORTIVO (Spain)
by Jose Ignacio Huguet
"Zeljko Obradovic made his own legacy a bit bigger by adding his eighth continental crown thanks to his team's triumph. Panathinaikos beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 70-78 in the grand final at Palau Sant Jordi. The Greeks dominated the game from the very beginning due to Diamantidis's - chosen MVP - direction, a great defense and its advantage under the rims, fulfilling the forecasts that considered the team to be the biggest candidate to win the title."
ASSOCIATED PRESS (global)
Panathinaikos wins European title
by Joseph Wilson
"Diamantidis, who was named the regular-season MVP and defender of the year for the sixth time, also won the award for MVP of the Final Four. The Greek guard joined Toni Kukoc (three) and Dejan Bodiroga (two) as the only players to win multiple Final Four MVP awards...'A lot of good things happened to me this weekend but this is the best one — winning the Euroleague title,' said Diamantidis, who won the championship for the third time with the Greens. 'Every trophy you win is great.'"
The simplicity of the perfect
By Giorgos Mazi
So easily? So simple? Both mature and effective? Yes! Panathinaikos took its sixth Euroleague championship! It didn't play a super game, but it was not needed. It played with the air of a big team again and won the European crown with the enormous weight of its jersey. (...) It's the magic of simplicity. In fact, the simplicity of perfection. A machine that knows when to work."
Panathinaikos - triple cup-lifting!
"Dimitris Diamantidis proved his greateness at the awards ceremony in Palau Sant Jordi. He had to lift the trophy, but called Mike Batiste and Kostas Tsartsaris to put a hand in the cup and, all together, lift the trophy to heaven. It is the sixth trophy of basketball's modern emperor. This shirts with the sixth star are already sewn and everybody was triumphant in the locker room."
European basketball has a name: Panathinaikos
by Jose M. Dominguez
"It really has a lot of them, but all wear green and play for Panathinaikos. The machine led by Obradovic has been - once again - simply unstoppable. Maccabi never gave real trouble to the Greeks, who managed to win the Euroleague final (70-78). The Serbian coach got his eighth competition crown being loyal to his style, with academic basketball."
2,000 fans welcome back Panathinaikos...at 4 a.m.!
by Cesar Nanclares
"If Panathinaikos fans led by example at Palau Sant Jordi, cheering non-stop for their team without giving any trouble, the way they welcomed back their team to Athens on Sunday night was impressive. More than 2,000 diehard fans waited in the airport until 4 a.m. for their team's arrival from Barcelona... It was double happiness for the basketball world - sharing the joy of triumph and above all, doing it with passion."
Israel Hayom (Israel)
Settling For the Israel Prize
By Avi Segal
Maccabi did the maximum in the final, but against Panathinaikos it wasn’t enough. The yellows finished a great and surprising season in which they surpassed the expectations, but return home without the cup.
The Jerusalem Post (Israel)
Maccabi Tel Aviv falls just short in Barcelona
By Allon Sinai
“Maccabi Tel Aviv’s dream European season ended with a rude awakening on Sunday evening with a 78-70 defeat to Panathinaikos in the Euroleague final at the Palau Sant Jordi Arena in Barcelona. No one expected Maccabi to reach the Final Four at the start of the season, but Sunday’s defeat was still bitterly disappointing for the yellow- and-blue, which came tantalizingly close to lifting a sixth continental title in club history… Maccabi had no answer for Euroleague and Final Four MVP Dimitris Diamantidis, who picked Tel Aviv apart time and again, and Pana proved why its defense is regarded as one of the best in Europe by limiting the yellow-and-blue’s competition-best offense to just 36.9 percent (24 of 65) from the field.”
Very high ratings for Euroleague final
By Assaf Bilgori
“An average of 27.2% homes in Israel tuned in to the Euroleague final, which is 1.05 million viewers between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Panathinaikos. At its peak, the rating was 34.2%. The rating for the pre-game show was 8.8%.”
Ynet – Yediot Ahronot (Israel)
Maccabi loses final, Panathinaikos is Euroleague champ
By Yael Shahrur
Maccabi Tel Aviv wanted, dreamed and hoped, but it was Panathinaikos of Athens that was crowned the 2010-11 Euroleague champion. The team of Zeljko Obradovic, the greatest European coach of all time, beat the yellows in a great final at Palau Sant Jordi In Barcelona.
The Times-Picayune (United States)
McCalebb's Italian team takes third place at Euroleague Final Four
“Former O.P. Walker and UNO standout Bo McCalebb scored 10 points in helping his Italian club Montepaschi Siena grab third place at the Euroleague Final Four with an 80-62 victory over Real Madrid last weekend. ‘At least we got one victory, which is one more than I got at the last Final Four,’ said McCalebb, who reached the 2010 Final Four with Partizan Belgrade but lost in the semifinals and third-place game.”
The Register-Guard (United States)
Hairston’s team finishes third
“Former Oregon standout Malik Hairston was unable to capture the title in Europe’s elite basketball event, the Euroleague, as Montepaschi Siena lost 77-69 to eventual champion Panathinaikos in Friday’s semifinal in Barcelona, Spain. ‘It’s a great experience. Anybody can win. But I think we did a good job coming out after a tough loss,’ said Hairston, whose team is still the favorite to win its fifth straight Italian league title later this spring.”