Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

CSKA Moscow center Kyle Hines discusses the events that took place in Greece and Spain, concerning Real Madrid’s and Olympiacos’s reactions to the officiating in domestic rival games.

With his official capacity as the vice-president of the Euroleague Players Association (ELPA), established one year ago and announced at the Final Four 2018 in Belgrade, and also as an ex-Olympiacos player, who has seen the Greek rivalry from thee inside for two seasons (2011-2013), Hines shared his thoughts with TalkBasket.net moments after he returned to the Peace and Friendship Stadium. It should be noted that during that particular game, the 32-year-old center achieved a big and special personal milestone, reaching 200 blocked shots for his career and making a career-high 4 blocks.

Here is what Kyle Hines had to say about the recent incidents and other issues that the ELPA has to resolve.

Q: As a member of the board of the Euroleague Players’ Association (ELPA), what is your stance in view of what happened in the Real Madrid-Barcelona and Panathinaikos-Olympiacos games?

A: I can’t speak officially about it. I can only express my opinion which is: Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, Real Madrid and Barcelona are very powerful entities. They are very important not only for basketball, but for sports in general. Not only in Spain and Greece, but all over Europe and the world.

So, for me personally, I would like to see these rivalries continue. It’s about the spirit of the game on the court and not so much about all the stuff that happens off the court. As a basketball fan, I think that’s important. Different competitors and players on the court competing and trying their best to win games.

Q: As a player, what do you think about administrations that decide to withdraw their teams from a game or a competition?

A: Obviously, they did it for a reason. I don’t have more information, I wasn’t there and I don’t know. I respect the call and the people who made the decision. They thought a decision had to be made and they made it for a reason. I can’t oficially make an opinion on something I don’t know a hundred per cent about. Obviously, I’d like to see the game being played because I’m a basketball fan and I think that’s an important rivalry. But I truly respect the people who made this decision.

Q: Would you say it was justified? I mean, forfeiting a game protesting for bad calls is justifiable?

A: I didn’t see the full game. I just saw the clips, so it would be wrong to make a judgement. I can’t make those comments.

Q: In terms of the FIBA windows and Euroleague players’participation, are there any steps of improvement?

A: We’ll see. The best players want to have the opportunity to represent their national teams. Not only the players want it, but the national teams want it as well. The way the current system and the schedule is, it’s pushing the players, the teams and everybody. We are all in a tough position because the national teams want to have their best players and also the Euroleague clubs, who are paying, want to have them too. It’s a tough decision for everybody.

A: What’s the ELPA view of national competitions? Is the Euroleague becoming a closed league?

A: That’s something above me. It’s more of a shareholders decision. At this point right now, we as players are worried about other things that we can control: making sure it’s a fair competition, players’ safety, making sure the players’ rights are represented on all facets. If any changes in the Euroleague are announced, we’ll se how the situation will be.