Turkish Airlines Euroleague
June 20, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
Addicted to that champ feeeeeeeling!
What's up? CSKA made the Final Four for the fifth consecutive time, which I believe is a record. It's great to be part of someting special like that and have the opportunity to go to another Final Four. This is my third Final Four in four years and it is always special to be there. I am used to playing basketball around this time of the year and being involved in Euroleague games. It is a great feeling, nonetheless it has become more like a normal feeling, something that I got used to. You always want to have that feeling at this time of the year. I have family and friends flying to Athens to see the games and enjoy the atmosphere, because this is something special you want to share with everybody every time you get it. Some of our players have never been to any Final Four, but even to those of us who have been there before, is always special, because you never know how many chances like this you can get in your career.
My first Final Four was in 2004 with Montepaschi Siena in Tel Aviv. The weather was really hot and our hotel was right on the beach. Everything looked calmed and relaxed in there but things were different on court. Everything surrounding the Final Four was exciting and wonderful. The fans in Tel Aviv were basketball crazy and I guess we can expect the same in Athens this season. Like I said, everything was wonderful but the fact that we lost, but we had a great time that I will share with everybody for the rest of my life. It was my first Final Four, the first chance I had to be involved in such a high-level thing. It was an incredible feeling and an incredible situation. I was chosen for the All-Euroleague second team, but we didn't get the trophy. Our semifinal game was amazing! I still think we should have won that one. Stef (Vrbica Stefanov) and I fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter, but we went to overtime without a starting point guard on the court. We had Bootsy Thornton trying to carry the team the best he could and we went down to the final shot, a three-pointer by Dusan Vukcevic that he normally makes and ended up missing. We lost the game, but I think it was great to be part of it.
The Final Four in Prague was different in many ways. We were a contender, but I still think we were not expected to make much noise. A lot of people thought that Maccabi would win the Euroleague again, as it would have been their third consecutive title, starting with that one they won in Tel Aviv. I still feel we were kind of underdogs, and being in that position can be dangerous for any team because the media and other people thought that Maccabi were the favorites. Some people believe this kind of talk, while others still think that the other team is really dangerous. Right now, there are four teams left in the Euroleague and it really doesn't matter what happened during the season, or the record that the team has. Nothing matters there but playing the best basketball. No matter how strong your team is, if you are not prepared and you don't play the best basketball, you will lose.
After the final in Prague, I ran into the stands, took my jersey off my back and gave it to my family. It was wonderful for me to even be able to share that with them. I don't know why I did it. It was not something that had planned or anything like that. It was a reaction. I went up there, celebrated with them a little bit, then ran to where all CSKA fans were and celebrated with them for a moment and went back with the rest of my teammates. You know what? You always want to have that feeling again. I remember exactly how it felt like to win the Euroleague last year. I talked to a couple of teammates and we are agree, we want to feel like that again. Winning a championship like the Euroleague is like a drug, it is addictive and it is something to chase after. Right now, we all want that feeling again. It is not the trophy, or the fame, or the celebrity status, or anything you might get from winning the Euroleague: it is the FEELING. You want to be able to feel it and share it with you fans, family and teammates. There are only three teams that can get that feeling away from us. Fortunately enough, we are control of our own destiny. All we have to do is come out, play strong and win two basketball games to have that feeling again.
Hopefully, a lot of people from Moscow will be coming to Athens to support our team and help us to win another Euroleague championship for the city!
David Vanterpool - Moscow, Russia
Thursday, April 26, 2007
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