by: Vassilis Skountis, Athens
May 16, 2007
Dimitris Diamantidis - Panathinaikos
In the history of European basketball, the 2007 Final Four at Athens Olympic Indoor Hall (OAKA) will be forever associated with victory by Panathinaikos and the role of Dimitris Diamantidis as MVP. On a night when all the world was watching and every shot was important - make or miss - Diamantidis had a near-perfect shooting performance as Panathinaikos dethroned previous champ CSKA 93-91. His 15 points were one reason for Diamantidis being voted MVP, but so was his singular specialty, the ball-hawking defense that has won him three consecutive Best Defender Trophy honors. Just as he has helped make defense into a feature that fans watch as intently as scoring, Diamantidis has opened up the MVP award to defensive players as perhaps no one before him. "I am a tool in a great basketball machine," Diamantidis told "I don't consider myself a star, I only think about being a dedicated player and a good professional." more
by: Javier Gancedo,
May 28, 2007
Jorge Martinez, Theo Papaloukas at Gala Dinner
There was one big winner at Final Four weekend who went quite unnoticed by the majority of fans - even though he was very much one of them and a champion in his own right. Jorge Martinez, the 2006-07 Fantasy Challenge winner from Valencia, Spain, had the time of his life as Euroleague Basketball's VIP guest throughout Final Four weekend in Athens. The special privileges Jorge enjoyed are almost too long to list: a flight to Athens for him and a friend, an executive room at the headquarters hotel where all the Final Four teams stayed, VIP passes to all games and to the Gala Awards Dinner, where he was the last person brought on-stage to be recognized with the best Euroleague players of the season. Finally, Jorge and his friend were allowed on the floor after Panathinaikos won the final to join in the celebration. In short, it was a fan experience unlike any other in the world of sports. After returning home, Jorge talked to about his once-in-a-lifetime weekend. "We couldn't ask for more," Jorge said. "The best recommendation I can give is that I can't wait for the game to start again. I can't wait to defend my Fantasy Challenge title." more
by: Frank Lawlor,
May 14, 2007
Zeljko Obradovic - Panathinaikos
It is time to consider the obvious: we have before us, in the prime of his career, not merely Europe's most successful coach, past or present, but one of the all-time greats to ever sit on a basketball bench. In capturing his sixth Euroleague trophy a week ago, Panathinaikos head coach Zeljko Obradovic has added to a legend that could grow untouchable before he is finished. His first continental title after a four-season gap now gives Obradovic two more any other coach who has walked the sidelines during the half-century that Europe has crowned annual champions. And, at just 47 years old, Obradovic remains plenty motivated to keep collecting trophies. On the floor at OAKA, while celebrating his team's latest triumph, Obradovic went from player to player, talking over the noise and into the ear of each. He was congratulating them for what they had just won, the first Euroleague title for most, but he was also planting seeds for the future. "I told them to remember this feeling," Obradovic said in a interview days after the victory. "This is the feeling that you want to have in mind when next season begins." more
by: Frank Lawlor,
April 27, 2007
Ettore Messina - CSKA Moscow
His team will remain champion until another is able to stop it - whether in the 2007 Final Four or beyond - and until that moment, CSKA Moscow head coach Ettore Messina is at the top of his profession, too.
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