Devotion
April 30, 2013
Theodoros Papaloukas - CSKA Moscow - EB12
The one and only Theo Papaloukas of CSKA Moscow was one of Euroleague.net's guests in a special Final Four edition of Fan Mail, and this Turkish Airlines Euroleague legend like few others not only took questions from fans, but from some fellow-celebrities, too! Back to CSKA this season, Papaloukas will play his ninth Final Four - a new record since the format was chosen in 1988 - in London. Papaloukas changed the concept of the sixth man in modern basketball by not only dominating games, but an entire competition, despite coming off the bench every night. He is a tall playmaker with outstanding leadership and passing skills who led CSKA to the 2006 and 2008 Euroleague titles. He was named MVP of the 2006 Final Four and also of the following 2006-07 season. Papaloukas also helped Greece capture gold at EuroBasket 2005 and the silver medal at the 2006 World Championships. And with CSKA, he won six consecutive Russian League titles. Papaloukas leads the Euroleague's all-time lists in game played (250) and assists (974). In other words, he is a living legend who might be playing his last season, as he said in one Fan Mail answer. "It is very good for me that I will have the opportunity to close my career over here," Papaloukas told to a Spanish fan. "First of all, I like to be back with coach Messina, like I used to be in the past, when he had great success. CSKA always has high standards, the organization is great and everybody around the team helps it to succeed." more
April 30, 2013
Nathan Jawai - FC Barcelona Regal - EB12
A force of nature is getting ready for his Final Four debut: but before that happens, Turkish Airlines Euroleague fans had the chance to get in touch with center Nate Jawai of FC Barcelona Regal. Few, if any, players have journeyed so far to join the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Growing up in the town of Bamaga, on the remote northernmost tip of Australia, Jawai didn't start to play basketball until age 16. His combination of size, mobility and power allowed him to shine in his home country, however, opening the door to Europe's signature club competition. Jawai had his Euroleague debut season with Partizan mt:s Belgrade and played for Unics Kazan before joining Barcelona last summer. His crowd-pleasing dunks have allowed Jawai to lead his team in two-point percentage (69.7%), ranking second overall. He leads the 2012-13 Euroleague in rebounds per 40 minutes (12.1) and has earned weekly MVP honors twice - including in make-or-break Game 5 of the playoffs. Jawai combines rugged play with a playful personality and can consider himself a true globetrotter. Jawai is truly excited about making his Final Four debut, too. "I never experienced a Euroleague Final Four. I have to stay focused but this is a big achievement compared to all I did in Europe," Jawai answered an Italian fan. "I hope we can go to London and do good things. We cannot be too excited - we have to focus on the upcoming game against Madrid." more
April 30, 2013
Rudy Fernandez celebrates - Real Madrid - EB12
Hundreds of Turkish Airlines Euroleague fans sent questions for a very special guest in our Final Four edition of Fan Mail. 2012-13 All-Euroleague First Team selection Rudy Fernandez of Real Madrid, one of the most charismatic players in world basketball, took a break in his Final Four preparation to answer your questions. Fernandez, a World and European champion with the Spanish national team, is in his first full Euroleague season in six years. Not only does he lead Madrid in scoring (13.6 ppg.), steals (1.4 spg.) and performance index rating (16.3 per game), but Fernandez has provided some of the biggest highlights in this Euroleague season with outstanding blocks, great assists and his signature alley-oop dunks! Fernandez was chosen as the Euroleague Rising Star in 2006-07, when he played for DKV Joventut. He also led Joventut to win the ULEB Cup title in 2008. Back in Madrid after playing some games with Los Blancos last season, Fernandez has said several times that lifting the Euroleague trophy with Madrid is one of his dreams, which may come true in London. "I never had the chance to fight to get to the Final Four and win a Euroleague title," Rudy told a Euroleague fan. "Truth to be told, I have been thinking about it for a long time and I will have the opportunity to face that challenge this weekend." more
April 30, 2013
Kostas Papanikolaou - Olympiacos Piraeus
One of the best young players in world basketball was fully available to take your questions in our Final Four edition of Fan Mail! Kostas Papanikolaou of Olympiacos Piraeus, the 2012-13 Euroleague Rising Star, is getting ready to defend the Euroleague title and before he gets to London, he answered what fans from around the continent had to ask. Papanikolaou has been one of Olympiacos's main pillars this season. He shined in the 2012 Final Four, not missing a single field goal attempt while averaging 13.5 points in the event, helping Olympiacos win its first Euroleague title in 15 years. His stellar performance kick-started his young, promising career at the elite level. Papanikolaou has averaged 9 points on 53.4% three-point shooting, the best among Euroleague players, and 4.6 rebounds this season, while offering some of the most spectacular dunks and blocks of the competition. His intangibles - team-oriented mentality, intensity, energy - are what make Papanikolaou unique, however, and of course, his belief that Olympiacos can reach for back-to-back Euroleague titles in London. "Having the opportunity to defend the Euroleague title at the Final Four is a big achievement for this team. I am really happy!" Papanikolaou told a Greek fan. "We promise our fans that we will work hard to make the most out of the chances we have to win this title." more