Author: Massimo Tosatto

The role of center is the most iconic in basketball. The big man, at the center, embodies the extraordinary aspect of the game, in which men who would struggle to find a place in the society, become the centerpiece of the teams in which they play. Dimensions, though, were not so important at the beginning. Coaches thought basketball needed small and fast men. A “tall” man in the 30s, in the US, would be Joe Lapchick, a “giant” standing at 1,98 cm (6-5). As the game improved, height became more important. A big man could score easily from near and…

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The saying goes that when you look too much like the other, you can’t get along well. Let’s be sincere: Italian basketball, and most of its best players, have Jugoslavian roots. At least the greatest. Coaches and players’ exchange happened constantly from the 60s onwards, and Italy’s victories often depended upon the players the Yugo coaches developed. As Italians, we must be sincere: we always envied the Yugoslavian players. And as former Yugo, now split in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia (to be told from North to South with no suspect of favoring one over another), well, they…

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Few men know European basketball and life like Svetislav Pesic. That’s why Barcelona, midway through the 2018-2019 season, asked him to step in to try and fix a situation gone too far on the losing side. He, with his inscrutable face, his comfortable jacket, the eternal smart grimace, took over patiently sitting on the bench of a team on the verge of a nerve crisis, at least to give some basic basketball to the Catalans. It was hard to think to resettle the navigation bar. The first two Euroleague games were losses against Real Madrid and Zalgiris, in which Barcelona…

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The 2018 Ronde van Vlaanderen has a special guest. One day before the official race, Lance Armstrong will be the host of an event organized by the “Tour of Flanders Business Schools”. Wouter Vandenhoute, the organizer of the race, said, on the race’s site: “With the ‘Tour of Flanders Business Academy’, we aim to invite a top-class speaker to Flanders each year. This can be someone from the world of cycling, but could just as easily be a representative of another sport or another aspect of our society. The very first speaker we have invited is Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong…

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“the pressure for us meant that you still had money for the dinner” John Kundla Imagine to see Erik Spoelstra at 100, (for precision, it still takes 53 years), who talks about his victories with the Heat, or maybe another team, remembering the scores and some stories about LeBRon and Dwyayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Carefully calculate the time it takes (it’s 2070), and look back, more than 53 years ago, get to 58. In 1959, John Kundla gave up NBA coaching, after more than 10 years at the Lakers, in which, with George Mikan, he won 5 championships. History,…

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“El fem nunc” A group of Cantù supporters who contributed to build the new sports arena Once upon a time, there was a … queen? Actually, no, there was a team, in a small village in Lombardy, Italy, that was able to withstand the great powers of the continent with a group of in-house built players, and win the Euroleague against all odds. It was the golden age of Italian basketball, when the small cities produced athletes out of a small pot of talent, thanks to great coaches and the local pride. Indeed, Cantù made the players by themselves, if…

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“Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes” “fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts” Virgil, Aeneid On Siskauskas’ second miss, Papanikolaou grabbed the rebound with 9,7 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, and passed to Spanoulis. Olympiacos trailed by one point, after CSKA seemed to have shut down the game in the third quarter. When Vassilis received the ball the time was at about 8 seconds, but his interior clock ticked slower than the CSKA’s, the referees’, the public’s. His basketball mind set all players in the court. Hurry did not touch him. A strange calm descended on him, while…

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The cycling season begins with the usual sequence of classic one-day races that take the cyclists from the mild temperatures of the early Sanremo spring, to the rigid northern climate, where the northern classics take place. The old cycling aficionados of decades ago, people who had never traveled or knew nothing about what lied far from their small-town, could name precisely those places, as though they were their own: Paris, Roubaix, Liege, Granmont, Huy. They all came to them through the radio that let the enterprises of those cyclists enter their homes, and cheer for something they had never seen.…

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The oddest day in European sports was September 16, 2007. It was the day when the sea took the place of the sky and the sky the place of the earth. When all prophets laughed and the gods decided to discard the heroes, to let the men win in their place. That day, two very far away from each other cities, hosted two finals of two different sports. In Moscow, at the Eurovolley 2007 final, the dominant Russian team, a historical volleyball powerhouse, faced a surprising Spanish team, that got to the final thanks to the tactical intelligence of their…

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“History has many cunning passages” T.S. Eliot, Gerontion It is difficult to understand how Milos felt at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season. The NBA began to call, interested in Milos’s unique basketball talent. But he wouldn’t go, at least until the chance finally came to lift that cup over his head. CSKA dominated the season, as usual, and played the TOP 16 and the playoffs showing great self-confidence, together with the fighting spirit Itoudis was trying to inoculate in the players. So, when they got to the Final 4, there was something different in the players, a sensation that…

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