A new film that reunites members of Maccabi Tel Aviv's back-to-back EuroLeague-winning teams from 2004 and 2005, and recounts their unforgettable journey together, continues this season's Insider Documentary Series, which brings the best stories in the game to the fans.
Symphony in Yellow, set for release on Monday, February 11, tells the story of that majestic team through the eyes of the protagonists who lifted Maccabi to soaring heights.
Maccabi Tel Aviv set out to build a true title contender for a 2003-04 season that was to culminate with the Final Four on its home court in Tel Aviv. The expectations were weighty, and if Maccabi wobbled, it did not disappoint, taking its supporters on a wild ride that peaked with a record-crushing championship game triumph celebrated by hundreds of thousands in the heart of the city.
But to get to that Final Four, Maccabi first had to survive a do-or-die thriller for the ages against Zalgiris Kaunas that produced one of the most famous shots in basketball history, Derrick Sharp's miracle three-pointer on the buzzer to force overtime. The next season, Maccabi elevated its game to a thing of beauty, overwhelming opponents with basketball so graceful and multi-instrumental that it resembled nothing less than a musical symphony.
"The beautiful basketball that we played is what it was," explains Sarunas Jasikevicius, Maccabi's conductor at point guard on those teams and now the head coach of Zalgiris Kaunas. "It's a team that is very difficult to repeat for European basketball."
"It was really like a symphony, it was everything perfect," Nikola Vujcic – then the team's starting center, now Maccabi's team manager – says in the film. "Even when I watch the game again it's like, wow. Everything: spacing, shots...everything was going like a dream."
Symphony in Yellow is the second of three planned films this season in The Insider Documentary Series. The Learning Master, which chronicled how Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown embraced European basketball as head coach of Fiat Turin, was released in November. A film centering on the career of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens guard Nick Calathes will be released in the spring.
The new film accompanies Maceo Baston on his first trip back to Tel Aviv in more than a decade for a reunion alongside his former teammates Sharp, Vujcic, Gur Shelef and Tal Burstein. Jasikevicius and Anthony Parker, as well as Coach Pini Gershon, team chairman Shimon Mizrahi and club co-owner David Federman, also share stories from that memorable time for Maccabi.
Born in 2015, The Insider Documentary Series goes beyond the glare of game nights and digs into the personal stories of the biggest European basketball stars. The Insider cameras capture the intimacy behind the spotlights and provide full access to the protagonists and the people who know them best. Past Insider Documentaries have profiled coaches like Zeljko Obradovic, players like Luka Doncic and Vassilis Spanoulis, and cities such as Istanbul and Belgrade – all taking viewers to the heart of what makes basketball a sport that moves people so deeply.
The Insider EuroLeague Documentary Series exemplifies a commitment to the premium, long-form content on the Euroleague Basketball Originals platform, which was enhanced again this season by the debut of The Journey, an eight-month series that takes fans behind the scenes from opening day to the championship game with their heroes from five different EuroLeague teams.