Lietuvos krepšinio lyga
Lietuvos krepšinio lyga is the premier professional men's club basketball league in Lithuania. It is composed of 10 teams, it is a member of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation; the best LKL clubs are annual participants of the top European-wide basketball competitions, including the top-tier level EuroLeague. On April 22, 1993, the Lietuvos krepšinio asociacija was founded, it was the first professional sports organisation in Lithuania. Lietuvos krepšinio lyga was built on the foundation of the LKA; the league's headquarters is located in Vilnius. The Lithuanian Basketball Association was founded on 22 April 1993, when eight of the strongest Lithuanian basketball clubs' officials met with representatives of the Šarūnas Marčiulionis basketball fund in Vilnius; the original eight teams were: Žalgiris Kaunas, Atletas Kaunas, Drobė Kaunas, Statyba Vilnius, Olimpas Plungė, BC Šilutė, Lietkabelis Panevėžys and Neptūnas Klaipėda. This association would soon be renamed to Lietuvos krepšinio lyga due to legal issues announcing their that would start in the upcoming fall.
By the end of spring, before the season started, the LKA and their new league accepted two more teams – Lavera Kaunas and NECA Kaunas. Following the 1993–94 season, the finalists of last season's LKAL, Sakalai Vilnius & BC Šiauliai joined the league, while Drobė Kaunas decided to withdraw due to financial difficulties; the 1994–95 season saw the league's foreign players emerge as star power, before they were more known to be role players. In the 1995–96 season the league continued to accept the champions of the LKAL to the league, Savy Alytus joined the league. Sharpshooter Joe Vickery became the first foreigner to lead the LKL in scoring for Olimpas. League officials would start pressuring teams to play in better arenas by setting up certain criteria that were necessary to get accepted into the league. That's why no more teams were accepted until 1998 when Olimpas Plungė went bankrupt and was replaced by BC Kraitienė based in Marijampolė; some of the strongest teams like Šilutė and Atletas faded away to the bottom of the league and left the league.
During this time period, the league had been dominated by Žalgiris. They won the league's championship trophy for six consecutive years, from 1994 through 1999, their main rival during those years was Atletas Kaunas led by Saulius Štombergas and a young Žydrūnas Ilgauskas acquired from Žalgiris' youth team. Ilgauskas was selected 20th overall in the 1996 NBA draft, making him the first NBA player coming straight from the LKL. In 1999 Žalgiris, led by Tyus Edney, became the first Lithuanian team to win the top European basketball competition, the EuroLeague title. In the 1999–2000 season, Lietuvos rytas shocked defending EuroLeague champions Žalgiris by ending their dominant run; that sparked most the biggest rivalry in Lithuanian sports, the competitiveness has brought over to politics and society between the two biggest cities in Lithuania. The next season, the Green got their revenge by beating Vilnius in the finals, but in 2002, Lietuvos rytas, led by Ramūnas Šiškauskas and Arvydas Macijauskas, once again defeated Žalgiris.
However, Žalgiris fought back the subsequent season. In 2002–2003 Žalgiris attracted its well-acclaimmed former players Mindaugas Timinskas, Saulius Štombergas, Gintaras Einikis, who led the team to the championship trophy by beating Lietuvos Rytas 4–2. In 2006, Lietuvos rytas joined Žalgiris in the strongest European basketball competition, the EuroLeague; that season the Reds, led by Robertas Javtokas, Simas Jasaitis, Fred House, beat Žalgiris 4–0. But from on Žalgiris started winning once again – two titles in a row. In 2007 finals the Greens have won 4–2 led by all-around international players. In total, it was the final with most international players on both squads: both teams have 5 players from abroad each; the year after Žalgiris added Marcus Brown, who, at that time, had the most points in the history of EuroLeague. As a result, Žalgiris managed to win the trophy by downing Lietuvos Rytas 4–1. Marcus Brown was named the MVP of the finals averaging 15.6 points per game. In 2008–2009, led by Chuck Eidson, Artūras Jomantas and Marijonas Petravičius, Lietuvos rytas stopped the Greens from a three-peat, beating Žalgiris 4–1.
In this final Lietuvos Rytas managed to beat Žalgiris by 42 points in game two, lost by 26 points in game three. The swing of 68 points is the highest in the finals history of Lithuanian Basketball League. In the 2009–10 season, Vilnius claimed first back to back title, beating Žalgiris 4–3. 2010–11 saw Žalgiris reclaim the title, beating Lietuvos rytas 4–1. In the finals of 2012 Žalgiris was the winner again, by sweeping Lietuvos Rytas 3–0, it was the first final for Žalgiris in the brand new Žalgiris Arena. In the 2012–2013 season, a much more powerful Žalgiris dominated the league and Lietuvos Rytas, winning the series 4–0. During game two Žalgiris allowed only 45 points - the lowest in the history of the finals of LKL. During the 2013–14 season, Žalgiris, despite having reached the EuroLeague Top 16 phase, struggled in the national league, finishing 4th in the regular season, while Lietuvos rytas finished 1st; that led to a semifinal between the two teams that played in the last 15 finals of the competition.
After winning a dramatic series 2–1 in Vilnius, Žalgiris continued their run of having appeared in all of the finals since the league's foundation. Neptūnas would beat Tonybet in the second semifinal and appeared in their first LKL finals of club history. Though Žalgiris saw their three-peat after winning the series 4–2; this was the first LKL champions trophy for Šarūnas Jasikevičius who came back to his hometown team for the last season of his c
Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna
Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna, known for sponsorship reasons as Segafredo Virtus Bologna, is an Italian professional basketball club based in Bologna, Emilia-Romagna. The club was founded in 1929, which makes it the oldest club in Italy and one of the oldest one in Europe. Virtus is the second most titled basketball club in Italy after Olimpia Milano, having won 15 Italian national championships, 8 Italian National Cups and 1 Italian Supercup. Moreover it is one of the most successful team in Europe, having won two EuroLeagues and one FIBA Saporta Cup, it plays in the Italian first division LBA as well as in the Basketball Champions League. Some of the club's star players over the years have included: Renato Villalta, Jim McMillian, Krešimir Ćosić, Micheal Ray Richardson, Roberto Brunamonti, Predrag Danilović, Zoran Savić, Radoslav Nesterović, Antoine Rigaudeau, Marko Jarić, Manu Ginóbili, Matjaž Smodiš. Virtus was founded in 1871 as a gymnastics club, forming its first professional basketball team in 1929 as part of a multi sports club.
The team's home court was the former church of Santa Lucia in the city center. The first official championship of Virtus dates back to 1934, the year in which the Bolognese team won the first division tournament, obtaining the promotion in the top tournament after a hard-fought group of play-offs against Unione Sportiva of Milan and Ginnastica Rome. After the promotion, Virtus settled permanently at the top of the national basketball league, achieved a long series of honorable placings: in the nine championships disputed from 1935 to the outbreak of the Second World War, the Black V collected 6 second places, 2 third places and a sixth place. At the end of the world war, the Santa Lucia was no longer available for basketball games and after a brief period of outdoor matches on a field in Via del Ravone, the team moved to Sala Borsa, the city's stock exchange, readjusted in the evening for basketball matches; this unusual venue became the hallmark of a new Italian basketball season, compared to the worldwide famous Boston Garden.
Right here in 1945, led by Achille Canna, Luigi Rapini and Antonio Calebotta, won its first national Serie A title, adding the next three editions as well. The Black V won the national title again in 1955 and 1956, achieving a so-called "back-to-back". During the 1950s the long-time rivalry with Olimpia Milano began, as the first derbies with Gira and Moto Morini. Due to the fame of Virtus, the Sala Borsa was no longer suitable for hosting games; the arena was nicknamed Il Madison, after New York's Madison Square Garden and, in 1966, after Dozza's retirement from politics, it was re-named "PalaDozza". The 1960s have been an unfortunate decade for Virtus; the Bolognese team did not win any national title and the Italian basketball was dominated by its historic rivals, Simmenthal Milano and Ignis Varese. The turning point came from 1968, when the lawyer Gianluigi Porelli was appointed by the president of the multi-sport club, Elkan, at the head of the basketball section. Alternately nicknamed "Torquemada" or "Robespierre" for his quick and dictatorial methods, or, more L'Avvocato, Porelli has been one of the most prominent figures in the history of Virtus, which through initiatives unpopular but always winning, definitively ferried towards professionalism.
As soon as he arrived, at only 38 years old, Porelli cleaned up the old managers and sold the best player of the time, Gianfranco Lombardi, unleashing a popular uprising that ended up in court. Soon after, in 1970, thanks to Porelli, Virtus was one of the main proponents and founders of the Lega Basket, the governing body of the top-tier level professional Italian basketball league. In the same year, Virtus became a joint-stock company. Thanks to this choice, criticized, Porelli definitively healed the finances and in 1973 opened a new season of triumphs, thanks to a partnership with Sinudyne, a famous Italian domestic appliances company, with the engagement of the young American coach Dan Peterson, coming from the Chile's national basketball team. Virtus won its first Italian Cup in 1973/74 and, after two years, its seventh national championship, thanks to the leadership of players like Terry Driscoll, Carlo Caglieris, Gianni Bertolotti, Marco Bonamico and Luigi Serafini. In 1978 coach Peterson moved to Olimpia Milano and the former player Terry Driscoll was appointed new head coach.
Under him, Virtus won two consecutive national titles in 1979 and 1980. The most important players of that back-to-back were Renato Villalta, Jim McMillian, Krešimir Ćosić. Returning to the top in Italy, the Black V attempted to become a major team in Europe too, in 1981 they reached the final of the FIBA European Champions Cup in Strasbourg; however they lost by only one point against ], after a contested game and dubious referees' choices. After the defeat in the Cup, Porelli hired Aleksandar Nikolić, worldwide known as "The Professor"; the team was composed by young and talented Italians like Roberto Brunamonti and Augusto Binelli. Despite his fame, Nikolić did not succeed in bringing Virtus back to title, so in 1983, Alberto Bucci, a 35 years-old man from Bologna, became the new head coach. Under Bucci, Virtus won its tenth national championship, defeating Peterson's Olimpia in a historic final, always remembered as one of the best in Italian basketball history. In the same year, the team completed a domestic double by adding a National Cup.
In 1988, Porelli hired B
Club Deportivo Saski-Baskonia, S. A. D. Commonly known as Saski Baskonia and as Kirolbet Baskonia for sponsorship reasons, is a professional basketball team, based in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; the team plays in the EuroLeague. Baskonia has been a successful team in Spain, winning three ACB championships, six Spanish Cups and four Spanish Supercups. On the European level, Baskonia is one of the most important teams as it is present in the EuroLeague since 2000–01 season. Baskonia has been runners-up of the EuroLeague twice, in 2001 and 2005; the club was founded in 1959 as the basketball section of Club Deportivo Vasconia. It first played at Spain's highest level in 1972, emerged as a major force in Spanish basketball in the 1990s. Baskonia's first trophy of any kind came in 1995, the Spanish King's Cup, when Pablo Laso and Velimir Perasović led the team to an historical win; the club was making noise internationally too, reaching the FIBA Saporta Cup final in both 1994 and 1995. When it hosted the same title game in 1996, Baskonia pleased its many fans by downing PAOK behind 31 points from Ramón Rivas.
Baskonia made its first Spanish Championship playoff final in 1998 and added a second Spanish King's Cup title in 1999. They found quick success in the newly reborn EuroLeague. With a deep roster featuring Elmer Bennett, Saulius Štombergas, Victor Alexander, Fabricio Oberto and a young Luis Scola, Baskonia reached the 2001 EuroLeague Finals, before losing to Kinder Bologna in the fifth and final game on the road. With winning momentum and the additions of Dejan Tomašević and Andrés Nocioni, Baskonia celebrated the next season with another Spanish King's Cup trophy and its first Spanish League title ever. Baskonia snatched two more Spanish King's Cups, in 2004 and 2006, as Luis Scola and Pablo Prigioni played decisive roles, success followed the team in the EuroLeague. Baskonia's arrival to its first EuroLeague Final Four in 2005 couldn’t have been louder, as the team upset favored host CSKA Moscow in the semifinals, but couldn’t overcome defending champ Maccabi in the title game. Back home, Baskonia again reached the Spanish League finals.
Baskonia returned to the EuroLeague Final Four in 2006, but once again Maccabi stood in its way, this time in the semifinal. The team made it to the Spanish League finals, but was swept there; the next season, Baskonia won its EuroLeague regular season and Top 16 groups before sweeping Olympiacos in the Quarterfinal Playoffs, as Scola became the EuroLeague Basketball's top all-time scorer at that time. Nonetheless, eventual champion Panathinaikos downed Baskonia in the semifinals and once home again in Spain, Baskonia lost in the playoff semifinals. Through outstanding scouting and shrewd management, Baskonia built a squad that went to four straight EuroLeague Final Fours. Baskonia advanced to the EuroLeague Final Four in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, losing to Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv in the 2005 final, 2006 semifinals, to Panathinaikos in the 2007 semifinals, to CSKA Moscow in the 2008 semifinals. In the 2009–10 season, Baskonia won the Spanish Liga ACB championship after sweeping Regal FC Barcelona in the league's finals, 3–0.
In 2016, Baskonia returned the EuroLeague Final Four for the first time in eight years, as the club made it to the 2016 Final Four. Here the team was defeated after overtime in the semi-final by Fenerbahçe. In the third place game, Baskonia lost to Russian side Lokomotiv Kuban. In the following two season, the team was eliminated in the EuroLeague playoffs. In the 2016–17 season, the EuroLeague adopted a new league-style format in which a round-robin season of sixteen teams was played. Baskonia was one of the ten teams with A-licences. In the first season in the new format, Baskonia was eliminated in the quarter-finals by CSKA Moscow, 0–3. In the 2017–18 season, the club was defeated by Fenerbahçe, losing the quarter-final series 1–3; the club was referred to for years as Tau Cerámica, a Spanish brand name of ceramics manufacturer TAULELL, which name sponsored the club from 1987–2009. TAULELL used another of its brand names, Taugrés, as the name of the team, before changing the name to Tau Cerámica in 1997.
Tau, Taugrés and Tau Vitoria were frequently used to refer to the team. Baskonia, Saski Baskonia, Saski Baskonia, S. A. D. Refer to the name of the actual sports club itself. In 2009, the Spanish credit union Caja Laboral became the new name sponsor of the club and increased the amount of money that the name sponsor contributes to the sports club's budget. In 2016, Laboral Kutxa end its sponsorship naming to Baskonia. Baskonia has received diverse sponsorship names along the years: Caja Álava Taugrés / Tau Cerámica Caja Laboral / Laboral Kutxa Kirolbet Since 1991, Baskonia has played its home games at the Fernando Buesa Arena, which has a seating capacity of 15,504 people for basketball games; the arena was called the Pabellón Araba, from 1991 to 2000. The arena was extensively renovated and expanded in the year 2012. Source: baskonistas.com Spanish LeagueWinners: 2001–02, 2007–08, 2009–10 Runners-up: 1997–98, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09Spanish CupWinners: 1995, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 Runners-up: 1994, 2003, 2008Spanish SupercupWinners: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.
Runners-up: 2011, 2018Association CupWinners: 19852nd DivisionWinners: 1971–72Basque CupWinners: 2011, 2012 EuroLeagueRunners-up: 2000–01, 2004–05 3rd place: 2005–06 4th place: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2015–16 Final Four: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2016FIBA Saporta CupWinners: 1995–96 MVP Ramón Rivas Runners-up: 1993–94, 1994–
EuroBasket 2013 was the 38th edition of the EuroBasket championship, organized by FIBA Europe. It took place from 4 September until 22 September 2013 in Slovenia; the number of participating teams was 24. France defeated Lithuania in the final to win its first title. Tony Parker was named the tournament's MVP. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovenia brought forward a potential candidature for the FIBA EuroBasket. Countries which were interested in submitting a formal candidature had to do so by 31 August 2010. On 5 September 2010, it was announced that only two countries and Italy had submitted formal bids. On 15 October 2010, Italy announced its withdrawal from the run; the Basketball Federation of Slovenia thus remained the only candidate organizer. The decision on the candidacy was reported after FIBA Europe's meeting in Munich, Germany on 5 December 2010. In March 2011, the BFS appointed the economist Aleš Križnar as the director of the event. In the first stage, every team had to play against every other team of their group.
This meant five matches per team. From every group, the three best teams advanced to the second stage and the three worst teams were eliminated. In the second stage, two new groups were formed; the three best teams from groups A and B were united to form group E and the three best teams from groups C and D were united to form group F. In these two new groups of the second stage only matches by teams that had not yet played each other have to be played; as for the matches that had happened in the first stage, their results counted in the second stage. Therefore, every team played three there are 12 teams in the second stage. Out of the second stage, the four best teams from each of the two groups advanced to the quarterfinals whereas the two worst teams will be eliminated from the championship; the fee that Slovenia had to pay to FIBA Europe amounted to 6 million euros. According to the agreement, half of the money was paid by the Slovenian state; the official mascot was Lipko, whose name came from combining the Slovenian word for linden tree and the diminutive "ko".
The word lipa is of Slavic origin. Lipko is spelt in every market where he is present. Slovenia beat record attendance of 155,336 after preliminary round for 20,000 more people from previous FIBA Eurobasket; the average attendance per game was 2,588 visitors. On 24 March 2011, it was announced that the preliminary round would be played in Novo Mesto, Jesenice and Ptuj. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, will host the final round at the Arena Stožice. On 18 June 2012, it was announced that the city council of Ptuj cancelled their bid for the tournament. Novo Mesto cancelled their bid on 2 July 2012. On 28 August 2012, it was confirmed that the preliminary round would be played in Celje and Ljubljana instead of Ptuj and Novo Mesto, which cancelled their bids. Olympic Games or Olympic Qualifying Tournament participants Spain, Russia, Lithuania, Greece and Great Britain all qualified directly to the EuroBasket 2013 Final Round; the 31 remaining teams were divided into 1 group of 6 teams. The first and second placed teams in each group plus the 4 best third placed teams were qualified for the Final Round.
The Qualifiers were played between 15 August and 11 September 2012. The EuroBasket 2013 draw took place on 18 November 2012; the EuroBasket 2013 draw took place on 18 November 2012, first time in history the draw took place underground – in the Postojna Cave Concert Hall, divided the qualified teams into four groups of six, groups A, B, C, D. It was decided that games would take place in Celje, Jesenice and Ljubljana. Included are the latest published FIBA World Rankings prior to the draw. Venue: Tivoli Hall, Ljubljana Venue: Podmežakla Hall, Jesenice Venue: Zlatorog Arena, Celje Venue: Arena Bonifika, Koper The two groups comprised the three best-ranked teams from Groups A, B, C and D. Teams coming from the same initial group did not play again vs. each other, but "carried" the results of the matches played between them from the first round. The best four teams advanced to the quarterfinals. PG – Tony Parker SG – Goran Dragić SF – Bojan Bogdanović PF – Linas Kleiza C – Marc Gasol In order for players to qualify as statistical leaders for the tournament, they had to play in at least 6 games during the competition.
The tournament was broadcast in a record 167 countries around the globe. Official website
The center known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is the tallest player on the team, has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is 6 feet 10 inches or taller and weighs 240 pounds or more, they traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five; the center is considered a necessary component for a successful team in professional leagues such as the NBA. Great centers have been the foundation for most of the dynasties in both the NBA and NCAA; the 6'10" George Mikan pioneered the Center position, shattering the held perception that tall players could not develop the agility and coordination to play basketball well, ushering in the role of the dominant big man. He led DePaul University to the NIT title after turning professional, won seven National Basketball League, Basketball Association of America and NBA Championships in his ten-year career, nine of them with the Minneapolis Lakers.
Using his height to dominate opposing players, Mikan invented the shot block. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain further transformed basketball by combining height with a greater level of athleticism than previous centers. Following the retirement of George Mikan, the rivalry of the two big men came to dominate the NBA. Between the two of them and Russell won nine of the eleven MVP awards in the eleven-year period between 1958 and 1969. Many of the records set by these two players have endured today. Most notably and Russell hold the top eighteen season averages for rebounds. Bill Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships, he joined the Boston Celtics and helped make them one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning eleven championships over his thirteen-year career as well as five MVP awards. Russell revolutionized defensive strategy with his shot-blocking and physical man-to-man defense. While he was never the focal point of the Celtics offense, much of the team's scoring came when Russell grabbed defensive rebounds and initiated fast breaks with precision outlet passes to point guard Bob Cousy.
As the NBA's first African-American superstar, Russell struggled throughout his career with the racism he encountered from fans in Boston after the 1966–67 season, when he became the first African-American in any major sport to be named player-coach. His principal rival, Wilt Chamberlain, listed at 7'1", 275 pounds, lacked Russell's supporting cast. Chamberlain played college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks, leading them to the 1957 title game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Although the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime, Chamberlain was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. A member of the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA in 1959, Chamberlain won two Championships, in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers, although his teams were defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, he won seven scoring titles, eleven rebounding titles, four regular season Most Valuable Player awards, including the distinction, in 1960, of being the first rookie to receive the award.
Stronger than any player of his era, he was capable of scoring and rebounding at will. Although he was the target of constant double- and triple-teaming, as well as fouling tactics designed to take advantage of his poor free-throw shooting, he set a number of records that have never been broken. Most notably, Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average more than 50 points in a season and score 100 points in a single game, he holds the NBA's all-time records for rebounding average, rebounds in a single game, career rebounds. A lesser-known center of the era was Nate Thurmond, who played the forward position opposite Wilt Chamberlain for the San Francisco Warriors but moved to center after Chamberlain was traded to the new Philadelphia franchise. Although he never won a Championship, Thurmond was known as the best screen setter in the league, his averages of 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in 1966–67 and 1967–68, are exceeded only by Chamberlain and Russell. In contrast to the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s, the 1970s were a decade of parity in the NBA, with eight different champions and no back-to-back winners.
At the college level, the UCLA Bruins, under Coach John Wooden, built the greatest dynasty in NCAA basketball history, winning seven consecutive titles between 1967 and 1973. UCLA had won two consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965 with teams that pressed and emphasized guard play. After not winning in 1966, Wooden's teams changed their style, he led UCLA to three championships-in 1967, 68' and 69'-while winning the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. During his college career, the NCAA enacted a ban on dunking because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot, his entrance into the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 was timely, as Bill Russell had just retired and Wilt Chamberlain was 33 years old and plagued by injuries. After leading the Bucks to the 1971 NBA championship, te
Olympiacos B. C. known as Olympiacos or Olympiacos Piraeus, is a Greek professional basketball club, part of the major multi-sport club Olympiacos CFP, based in Piraeus. The basketball club, founded in 1931, is one of the most successful clubs in European basketball, having won three EuroLeague Championships, one Triple Crown, one Intercontinental Cup, twelve Greek Championships and nine Greek Cups, they play their home matches at the Friendship Stadium. Olympiacos is a traditional powerhouse of the EuroLeague and besides their three European Championship titles, they have been five times EuroLeague runners-up and have participated, altogether, in ten EuroLeague Final Fours. From 2006 to 2015, Olympiacos qualified 10 times in a row for at least the quarter-finals of the EuroLeague, an all-time record in European basketball history at the time, shared with FC Barcelona, who made a new record in 2016; the first major achievement of Olympiacos in European competitions was their presence in the European Champions Cup semifinal group stage in 1979, but it was in the 1990s that Olympiacos made their biggest mark.
They reached the EuroLeague Final in two consecutive seasons, 1994 and 1995, being the first Greek club that played in a EuroLeague Final, they won their first EuroLeague title in 1997 after a convincing 73–58 win against FC Barcelona in the final, thus achieving the first Triple Crown for a Greek team. As European champions, Olympiacos played in the 1997 McDonald's Championship and reached the final of the tournament, where they met Michael Jordan's NBA champions, the Chicago Bulls, they dominated Greek basketball during the decade of the 90s, when the Greek Basket League was considered Europe's best national basketball league. Based on all those achievements, FIBA declared Olympiacos as the Best European Team of the 1990s. Olympiacos returned to the top of European basketball in 2010, when they reached the final against Barcelona in Paris, but in 2012, when they won their second EuroLeague title in Istanbul, by rallying from 19 points down in the championship game, to beat CSKA Moscow 62–61, on the last shot of the game, achieving the greatest comeback in European basketball finals history, one of the greatest seen in European continental basketball.
In 2013, Olympiacos won their third EuroLeague title and became the first and only Greek club, only the third club in European basketball history, to become back-to-back European champions in the modern Final Four era of the EuroLeague, after beating Real Madrid 100–88 in the final of the 2013 Euroleague Final Four in London. After winning back-to-back EuroLeague championships, Olympiacos won the Intercontinental Cup and celebrated a third international title in less than 2 years; some of the greatest players in European basketball have played for Olympiacos over the years including: Charlie Yelverton, Carey Scurry, Žarko Paspalj, Giorgos Sigalas, Dragan Tarlać, Walter Berry, Panagiotis Fasoulas, Roy Tarpley, Eddie Johnson, Alexander Volkov, David Rivers, Chris Welp, Artūras Karnišovas, Arijan Komazec, Dino Rađja, Theo Papaloukas, Alphonso Ford, Tyus Edney, Arvydas Macijauskas, Ioannis Bourousis, Miloš Teodosić, Nikola Vujčić, Josh Childress, Linas Kleiza, Rašho Nesterović, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Kyle Hines, Joey Dorsey, Stratos Perperoglou, Acie Law, Georgios Printezis and Vassilis Spanoulis.
Under the ownership of billionaire Greek brothers Panagiotis Angelopoulos and Giorgos Angelopoulos, Olympiacos made a record transfer in 2008, by signing NBA player Josh Childress, whose US$20 million net income contract for three years made him the highest-paid basketball player in the world outside the NBA. The club had its beginnings in the 1930s. Olympiacos was the first Greek team to familiarize itself with American style basketball, as Alekos Spanoudakis learned to imitate the American style jump shot, his brother, Ioannis Spanoudakis, met basketball legend Bob Cousy, practiced many of his secrets and techniques on the court; the Spanoudakis brothers led the club to its first Greek League championship in 1949. The second title didn't come until 11 years in 1960, allowed the Reds for the first time to qualify for the European Champions Cup, their first participation at the European-wide level, it wasn't until 1976 that coach Faidon Matthaiou managed to create a strong team based on the stars Steve Giatzoglou, Giorgos Kastrinakis, Giorgos Barlas and on strong team players like Paul Melini and Pavlos Diakoulas.
Olympiacos would win another Greek title and it did so in unprecedented fashion, running off 22 victories in 22 games. Reds completed the first double in their history, winning the Greek Cup, while they did well in the Cup Winner's Cup as well, reaching the last 8; the next year, Kostas Mourouzis was appointed as head coach and the team won the Greek cup, after eliminating Panathinaikos with a record-setting 110–68 away win. Melini led Olympiacos with 24 points, while Kastrinakis scored 22. In 1978 the team did their second double in 3 years, winning both the Greek championship and their third Greek cup in a row, beating AEK 103–88 in the final. In 1979 the club had their first significant success in Europe, reaching the final round of the European Championship; the final round of that year was one of the toughest in the competition. Olympiacos finished 6th, winning only one game, the 79–77 h
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws; the team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play is mandated. Players advance the ball by bouncing it while walking or running or by passing it to a teammate, both of which require considerable skill. On offense, players may use a variety of shots -- a dunk, it is a violation to lift or drag one's pivot foot without dribbling the ball, to carry it, or to hold the ball with both hands resume dribbling.
The five players on each side at a time fall into five playing positions: the tallest player is the center, the tallest and strongest is the power forward, a shorter but more agile big man is the small forward, the shortest players or the best ball handlers are the shooting guard and the point guard, who implements the coach's game plan by managing the execution of offensive and defensive plays. Informally, players may play three-on-three, two-on-two, one-on-one. Invented in 1891 by Canadian-American gym teacher James Naismith in Springfield, United States, basketball has evolved to become one of the world's most popular and viewed sports; the National Basketball Association is the most significant professional basketball league in the world in terms of popularity, salaries and level of competition. Outside North America, the top clubs from national leagues qualify to continental championships such as the Euroleague and FIBA Americas League; the FIBA Basketball World Cup and Men's Olympic Basketball Tournament are the major international events of the sport and attract top national teams from around the world.
Each continent hosts regional competitions for national teams, like FIBA AmeriCup. The FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup and Women's Olympic Basketball Tournament feature top national teams from continental championships; the main North American league is the WNBA, whereas strongest European clubs participate in the EuroLeague Women. In early December 1891, Canadian James Naismith, a physical education professor and instructor at the International Young Men's Christian Association Training School in Springfield, was trying to keep his gym class active on a rainy day, he sought a vigorous indoor game to keep his students occupied and at proper levels of fitness during the long New England winters. After rejecting other ideas as either too rough or poorly suited to walled-in gymnasiums, he wrote the basic rules and nailed a peach basket onto a 10-foot elevated track. In contrast with modern basketball nets, this peach basket retained its bottom, balls had to be retrieved manually after each "basket" or point scored.
Basketball was played with a soccer ball. These round balls from "association football" were made, at the time, with a set of laces to close off the hole needed for inserting the inflatable bladder after the other sewn-together segments of the ball's cover had been flipped outside-in; these laces could dribbling to be unpredictable. A lace-free ball construction method was invented, this change to the game was endorsed by Naismith; the first balls made for basketball were brown, it was only in the late 1950s that Tony Hinkle, searching for a ball that would be more visible to players and spectators alike, introduced the orange ball, now in common use. Dribbling was not part of the original game except for the "bounce pass" to teammates. Passing the ball was the primary means of ball movement. Dribbling was introduced but limited by the asymmetric shape of early balls. Dribbling was common by 1896, with a rule against the double dribble by 1898; the peach baskets were used until 1906 when they were replaced by metal hoops with backboards.
A further change was soon made, so the ball passed through. Whenever a person got the ball in the basket, his team would gain a point. Whichever team got; the baskets were nailed to the mezzanine balcony of the playing court, but this proved impractical when spectators in the balcony began to interfere with shots. The backboard was introduced to prevent this interference. Naismith's handwritten diaries, discovered by his granddaughter in early 2006, indicate that he was nervous about the new game he had invented, which incorporated rules from a children's game called duck on a rock, as many had failed before it. Frank Mahan, one of the players from the original