2012, TalkBasket’s year in review

The year 2012 has made its presence known and despite a late “end of the world” threat, which we all laughed at really, it, has been unforgettable.

The sport that unites all TalkBasket readers has not let us down in 2012 and we invite you to sit back and reminisce all the great basketball moments of the past year.

Printezis highlights one of the best Final Fours ever

The 2011/12 Euroleague season was set and scripted; CSKA Moscow, led by Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved were overwhelming favourites, and Barcelona were supposed to be their only real challengers. They had the best records coming into the Final Four in Istanbul and it was supposed to be a CSKA vs Barcelona final.

Someone forgot to let Olympiacos know.

The unfancied Reds deservedly defeated Barcelona in the second semi-final after CSKA edged Olympiacos’ bitter rivals Panathinaikos in the first and the script writers were merely making some changes to the schedule, as the Catalan side were unable to attend the final game.

In the final CSKA were outstanding. Their team play; flawless, their shooting; sublime and their defence; excellent.  They were 19 points up in the third quarter and journalists and broadcasters were writing Olympiacos off, even I began to start my first paragraph with ‘CSKA Moscow defeated Olympiacos…’

Then the fourth quarter began a ten-minute memory that will be with Euroleague hoop fans forever.

Trailing 53-40 after three quarters, the Reds stunned their Russian counterparts with 20 fourth quarter points to CSKA’s eight, but they still trailed with under 20 seconds remaining. In Ramunas Siskauskas’ final play as a professional player, he missed two free-throws for Moscow, giving Olympiacos the chance and in a truly unforgettable moment, this happened.  PS: Those script writers quit afterwards.

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London 2012

All eyes were on Great Britain and they did not let themselves down.

The London 2012 Olympic Games was simply out of this world, TalkBasket were accredited and it was an honour to cover and document a spectacular men and women’s basketball tournament.

From the USA men’s incredible, record-setting performance against Nigeria to Australia’s Liz Cambage becoming the first woman to dunk in an international game. To ogling Russia’s Becky Hammon and Croatia’s Antonija Misura to Spain’s fourth quarter “collapse” against Brazil. The event provided us with numerous highlights.

As predicted though, the USA and Spain met again for the gold medal, and like Beijing four years earlier; they put on a show for the 18,000 inside the O2 Arena (North Greenwich Arena for the Games). It truly was the best game of the Olympics and the USA came out on top.

The USA women though started the basketball gold rush, as they claimed the women’s gold defeating surprise medalists France, who were just happy to be there and in the final game.

For the hosts, Great Britain, all the anticipation and hopes were dashed quickly as they were both eliminated in the group phase with one win between them – and that was the men’s win over China. The women held their heads high, despite five losses out of five, as did the men who finished their group 1-4.

TalkBasket.net also saw its biggest few weeks of activity since its inception. During the Olympics, TalkBasket had nearly 69,000 hits, bringing in readers from the usual countries like Greece, Turkey, Serbia to new destinations such as New Zealand, Philippines and we even had a hit from someone in Sri Lanka.

Great Britain vs USA

For the Great British basketball public and the players, both men and women, their pre-Olympic encounter with the United States meant one thing.

Great Britain basketball has made it.

The thought of Sheffield Sharks guard Nate Reinking going up against Kobe Bryant or Leicester Riders’ Andrew Sullivan squaring-off against LeBron James was one you could only cast as a mere dream, but it came alive in mid-July in Manchester.

The USA men won the game 118-78 but it was the Great Britain women who stole the headlines from the men.  Sure they lost to the USA 88-63, but the performance of the Gb women was heavily noted. They led 21-10 mid-way through the first quarter before the USA restore usual service. GB did narrow the gap at one point in the contest to seven, but USA ran away with the game eventually.

Still, it showed the basketball fraternity that GB had made it.

GB vs USA women’s highlights

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LeBron James

NBA MVP, NBA Champion, NBA Finals MVP, Olympic gold medalist and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Do I have to say any more? I don’t really.

Of course though, there have been several other highlights as well this year. The breakout performance of France’s Celine Dumerc at the London Games as she single-handedly led France to a silver-medal,  The spectacular draw for Eurobasket 2013 in Slovenia, Romain Sato having his passport taken away from him at Ljubljana Airport before Fenerbahce’s game against Union Olimpija, there are just too many.

Of course, we at TalkBasket have been there, every step of the way.

“2012 has been a great year for TalkBasket by all measures,” TalkBasket co-owner Arkadios Chasirides said.

“We keep growing and developing our site and besides our own traditional material we have made some co-operations with themed upcoming sister sites, who became members of the TalkBasket Network.  Bball Headlines and EuroStep being two of them.

“We have strengthened our social media presence with Twitter and Facebook showing the way. This is a good chance to thank each and every one of our followers and readers. It is truly a honour that you girls and boys take the time to read our material.

“2012 Istanbul Final Four was the fourth Final Four in a row which TB covered live, this time not with one but with two reporters who covered the great event comprehensively, earning recognition by Euroleague officials for our work.

“Deep down, I would like to thank everyone for checking us out, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. We will continue to be a great source for all your basketball needs all over Europe and the NBA in 2013.”

Indeed, thank you – here’s to 2013.