CSKA Moscow’s path to glory in the 2018/19 EuroLeague can be witnessed from start to finish in a brand new hour-long movie, You Make Me Proud.
This is an exclusive behind-the-scenes story full of achingly honest interviews with the club’s key protagonists that is the latest offering on the Euroleague Basketball Originals platform of premium, long-form content.
The Russian side claimed its eighth European crown by overcoming Anadolu Efes Istanbul in last May’s championship game in Vitoria-Gasteiz, but CSKA’s campaign had been anything but straightforward as Dimitris Itoudis and his players were forced to overcome a series of setbacks along the way.
In particular, tensions were running high after CSKA suffered four losses in seven games around the midway point of the regular season, including a shock defeat at Buducnost VOLI Podgorica.
The movie relives all the struggles endured by the team during that tough period, revealing how a Thanksgiving celebration dinner planned by the players was cut short by a demanding practice schedule instituted by Itoudis.
The heart of the movie is the relationship between CSKA President Andrey Vatutin and Itoudis.
Vatutin reveals that he was seriously considering firing the Greek coach in the wake of the team’s disappointment at the 2018 Final Four in Belgrade, telling the cameras: “It was difficult, some difficult weeks for us after Belgrade. The media started to ask me ‘Who will be the next coach of CSKA?’
For sure I was thinking a lot about the future of Dimitris. There was a long conversation between him and me. He told me: ‘I promise, Andrey: I will make you proud.'”
Sure enough, Vatutin’s faith in Itoudis was rewarded with the EuroLeague title 12 months later, leading to a highly emotional on-court embrace between the two men after the final buzzer sounded in Fernando Buesa Arena, with a tearful Vatutin telling his coach: “You deserve it! You make me proud! Like you promised me!”
The movie also features in-depth and previously unseen interviews with key players Will Clyburn, who was named Final Four MVP, scoring ace Nando De Colo, fellow guards Sergio Rodriguez and Daniel Hackett and, of course, long-serving team captain Kyle Hines, allowing fans to gain an intimate glimpse of the inner workings of the new EuroLeague champions.