The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four attracted hundreds of journalists from across the world to chronicle the dramatic games, the great atmosphere and the historic march to the title by Fenerbahce Istanbul. Here's a sampling of their dispatches.
Fenerbahce’s epic EuroLeague celebration
“It can’t get better than this! Fenerbahce’s party continued all day – and all night – long in Istanbul. It started with the players and the management of the team cutting a cake and it continued with a parade on the streets.”
Ball in Europe
Fenerbahce make history as they claim 2017 Euroleague title
“Fenerbahce were made to work for it but eventually, with the help of an unexpected intervention by Pero Antic, they romped to victory over Olympiacos as the Euroleague Final Four and the season as a whole came to a conclusion with a new name on the trophy. ”
How happy to live with you, Fenerbahce
“Fenerbahce wrote history in the giant final, which was followed by the exhaling of millions, and won the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for the first time, reaching the summit of Europe: 80-64.”
"There were about 12,000 in yellow in an arena of 15,000 people. From the first minutes onwards, the fans who created a great atmosphere put Olympiacos under a little more pressure with each passing period. Particularly in the second half, while the hall erupted with cheers, Fenerbahce fans became the biggest ignitors of their team and the Greeks experienced hell. At the end of the game, Sinan Erdem made ceaseless enthusiasm. The joy that filled the championship cup was worth seeing."
300 million euros
"With the investments made in recent years, with both its visibility and the number of spectators having increased, EuroLeague has contributed greatly to the promotion of the countries that host the Final Four games. It is estimated that EuroLeague will bring back about 300 million Euros of media to Turkey this year with Fenerbahce lifting of the cup… It is expected that the EuroLeague final, watched by 2.4 billion people, will make a positive contribution to tourism in the summer season."
Fenerbahce is European champion
"In the EuroLeague final, Fenerbahce became the European champion, defeating Olympiacos 80-64. Fenerbahce won its first Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title in its second finals, after reaching the championship game by eliminating the Spanish giants Real Madrid 84-75 in the first game at Sinan Erdem. With Zeljko Obradovic, the team has a different identity, putting it on top of every season and putting its name among the giant teams of Europe."
"The Fenerbahce men's basketball team defeated Olympiacos, its Greek rival, in Istanbul. The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague championship has reached the Canaries and Europe shook when it ruffled its feathers… It was a proud night for Turkish basketball."
Turkey’s Fenerbahce named Europe’s Best Basketball Team
“The four best European basketball teams have competed this weekend in the Final Four, the final stage of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague 2017, held in Istanbul. Turkey’s Fenerbahce won the coveted Cup against Olympiacos Pireus (Greece) with a result of 80:64 before the excited fans at the Sinan Erdem Dome.”
The European champions Fenerbahce, over the forces of Olympiacos
“Fenerbahce of Zeljko Obradovic was noticeably superior nearly throughout the game and Olympiacos, especially in the second half, could not keep up. The Turks with an 80-64 victory are European champions for the first time in their history, but the Reds retain their pride."
Kostas’s team: The vindication, the desire and the future of a champion
"At 27 he became European champion for the third time, playing in his fifth Final. Kostas Sloukas now starts and still has much to give, and even more to succeed in basketball."
Daniel Hackett sent letter of congratulations to Datome
"Dear Gigi, having digested the disappointment and anger about the defeat of my team and having seen you be fair as they become in this Euroleague, I decided this morning to write you a letter, which is the second that we have exchanged...”
Olympiacos buckled, Fener made history
“This time ... it was Fenerbahce's time, with Olympiacos not succeeding and seeing the Turkish team dominate the parquet and conquer the first Euroleague of its history, 80-64. Last year it missed a lost defensive rebound, but this time he could not be stopped. Not even the ill-fated Olympiacos, who at the end of the journey fought with all its might, but could not, like the previous teams, stop it."
Olympiacos Loses Chance to European Champions Crown after Loss from Fenerbahce
“Fenerbahce was the big winner of the Euroleague Championship after beating Olympiacos 80-64 in Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul on Sunday night. Fenerbahce came to the court as the absolute favorite against the Greek champions who travelled to Istanbul as the underdog of the Final Four. Ekpe Udoh’s impressive performance in defense, Bobby Dixon’s skillful playing and Bogdan Bogdanovic’s decisive three pointers led the Turkish team to victory."
"Let's start this time with the loser, Olympiacos. Bravo! What a team! The best this decade, two titles and four finals. They had everything against them and they held on like they could (44-40) to floating wood pieces that were around after suffering the Fenerbahce hurricane from the beginning. The same hurricane that defeated Madrid did the same with the Greeks, even if it had to kick it up a notch to level 5. A staggering intensity, like the one coming from the crowd."
Obradovic's Fenerbahce reigns in Europe
"When a team has great players, is led by the best coach in Europe, plays defense like there was no tomorrow and has a thousand offensive options perfectly synched, the usual thing is that this team wins. If, on top of all that, it plays at home in front of 15,000 of its fans that give it all supporting the team, it's almost impossible that it loses. That's Fenerbahce's profile, a team that fulfilled the laws of logic and rolled over Olympiacos (80-64) to become European champion."
Only Obradovic could do it: Fenerbahce, the first Turkish to conquer Europe
"Years go by, but the ambition of the Zeljko Obradovic myth does not decrease. He is an addict to success, the great totem of European basketball, and he is in great shape at 57 years old that sometimes seems an eternity... Even if Erdogan himself would have appeared at Sinan Erdem 15 minutes before the final, with the stands on fire, there would not have been such a reverential ovation. That's the aura of he who knows the secret of success, of he who lifted his ninth EuroLeague trophy in 26 years, the same that the winningest club has in its power, Real Madrid."
Fenerbahce wins its first EuroLeague by defeating Olympiacos
"Fenerbahce conquered its first EuroLeague ever after defeating Spanoulis' Olympiacos in the championship game 80-64. Obradovic lifted his ninth European crown in the same Istanbul where he conquered his first title with Partizan 25 years ago, the season of his coaching debut. MVP Udoh, Bogdanovic, Kalinic, Datome and company gave continuity to the winning potion of the Serbian coach, who is back to the throne with the fifth team of the six he has coached. An ode to success and passion for basketball."
The Obradovic legend gives Fenerbahce first EuroLeague
"He already has nine EuroLeague titles with five different teams: Partizan, Joventut, Real Madrid and Panathinaikos up to now. The last one has been with Fenerbahce, as Zeljko Obradovic has allowed the TUrkish team to win its first European title ever. Playing at home, with most of the stands by its side, Fenerbahce never gave Olympiacos any options (80-64). In the moment of truth of the championship game, Olympiacos missed its stars: Birch was the top scorer (14 points) while Spanoulis was at 9 with 2 of 12 from the field. Too little against the Fenerbahce artillery."
Where there is passion. Why "Fener" deserved victory in the EuroLeague
"The madness in Istanbul after the final made me envy and admit - the EuroLeague is moving in the right direction… After Sunday's triumph, outside Sinan Erdem Dome was going crazy - traffic was paralyzed, and between the rows of cars crazy Fenerbahce fans randomly moved. From those hopelessly stuck in the flow of people, cars continuously honked - but not out of indignation, as the Istanbul taxi drivers often do, but from happiness. Flags and songs were everywhere. Full sense of chaos ... and holiday. Involuntarily, you become a participant of a large Turkish carnival."
Consolation for the former champions
“Is there life after the defeat in the semifinals, if for you by default there are no places except the first? This question on Sunday had to be answered by the two most titled clubs in Europe. CSKA and Real have 16 victories in the main tournament of the Old World, but this time they had only a comforting ending. Two days earlier, the army team once again in recent years stumbled on the Greek Olympiacos, whereas the Madrid team, who won this season's regular season, gave way to the hosts, Fenerbahce. The first meeting in the Final Four in over 20-odd years was clearly not the same as the teams expected. But who wants to be the worst among the best, especially when it comes to two super clubs? Therefore, the players had to erase from memory all the negative impressions, go to the floor and try to finish the season with a victory.”
Andrei Kirilenko: "CSKA was stronger than Real"
"Fenerbahce and their fans interrupted a possible battle and I think Olympiacos did not even have the strength to resist. I congratulate Fenerbahce for a well-deserved victory. The Turkish basketball club waited for a long time and really wanted to win the Euroleague, and, of course, had a lot of support from its fans, "- said the head of the Russian Basketball Federation.
CSKA steps back
"The red and blue lost the title of the best team of the continent and finished only third in the EuroLeague Final Four…. in the game between the losers of the semifinals Dimitros Itoudis’ team defeated Real Madrid 94-70."
GAZZETTA DELLO SPORT
Basket, EuroLeague: Fenerbahce is the champion! Datome on the roof of Europe
"The ninth symphony of Obradovic and a historic first for Turkey. Fenerbahce arrived where a Turkish team had never gone before, on the roof of Europe. And they did so thanks to two Italians, GM Maurizio Gherardini and Gigi Datome, who was crucial in an 8-0 run killing Olympiacos (80-64 the final score), in the second part of the third quarter. It's the ninth EuroLeague won by the Serbian coach with five different teams, after Partizan Belgrade, Joventut Badalona, Real Madrid and Panathinaikos Athens, and this made him the best European coach of all-time. The biggest joy is for Datome who finally wins something he can feel completely his. He deserved it!"
Italy is back on the roof of Europe, Datome orchestrates Fenerbahce triumph
“The long fast is over. Seven years after the last triumph of Gianluca Basile with FC Barcelona, Italy is back on the roof of Europe thanks to Gigi Datome, protagonist in the EuroLeague final of Istanbul with Fenerbahce against Olympiacos (80-64). The captain of ‘Azzurri’ scored 11 points in 22 minutes - 10 of them bridging the third and fourth quarter, when the Turkish team of venerable Zeljko Obradovic – his ninth personal triumph – escaped from +2 (44-42) to +15 (65-50).”
EuroLeague, the first time for Fenerbahce and Datome: Olympiacos dominated.
“Fenerbahce re-wrote the history of Turkish basketball. They stunned Olympiacos 80-64 in the final to become the first team from its country to triumph on the European stage. A triumph which also has a part of ‘azzurro’ color because for the first time in his career Gigi Datome become European champion. Datome contributed to the victory with 11 points and 6 rebound. But this season will be remembered for another huge achievement of Zeljko Obradovic. ‘The Serbian wizard’ confirmed to be one of the best-ever coaches by winning his ninth title on the bench of the fifth different team after Partizan Belgrade, Joventut Badalona, Real Madrid and Panathinaikos (5).”
Fenerbahce clinched first European title over Olympiacos
“Turkey finally holds it, this historic victory. Olympiacos, the surprise winner against CSKA Moscow on Friday, stood in the way of a whole country this Sunday in the final. But this weekend, nothing could resist Fenerbahce. In an exceptional atmosphere, the men of Zeljko Obradovic attacked with their feet to the floor. From the very first possession, Ekpe Udoh launched an alley-oop in the direction of Jan Vesely, making Sinan Erdem Dome, after seven seconds, drunk with happiness.”
Thanks to Fenerbahce, a Turkish club won the EuroLeague
"This time, there was no escape: thanks to Fenerbahce Istanbul, a Turkish club has, for the first time, on Sunday won the EuroLeague in basketball, the most prestigious of European competitions. At Sinan Erdem Dome in fusion and adorned with yellow, the color of the club to the Asian side of Istanbul, Fenerbahce beat Olympiavos, more experienced but less rich in talent, by a score of 80 to 64.”
Euroleague Basketball experiments with WIMU PRO in-game wearable sensor
“In order to collect accurate information, players wore small WIMU sensors, enabling the software to record data on all movements a player makes in games and practices. The sensors can track the distance that players run, their average speed, acceleration, number of leaps, heart rate and load. The information collected was for the purpose of helping trainers and coaches to make in-game evaluations and adjustments. RealTrack Systems, based in Spain, had previously featured the WIMU PRO system in football.”
Fenerbahce’s Euroleague triumph affirms their stars’ careers
"Leading the charge for Fenerbahce were two former top-10 NBA draft picks. Ekpe Udoh, selected 6th in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, won MVP, dominating both sides of the ball against a threatening Olympiacos front line with 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists and five blocks. He was supplemented by Jan Vesely, who had eight points and eight rebounds. The 2011 NBA Draft's 6th overall pick set the tone off the opening tip, hitting this brilliant dunk off an Udoh assist:
"Vesely and Udoh were vital to Fenerbahce's win over Olympiacos, and now they're Euroleague champions. Their basketball primes have turned out differently than they would have hoped, but success at the Euroleague level shouldn't be viewed lesser than finding a role in the NBA. It's just as difficult to find ultimate success at this level, as evidenced by the [seven] different champions in Euroleague over the past [eight] years."
Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal
EuroLeague Signs Powerade, Samsung As Final Four Partners
“EuroLeague Basketball announced partnerships with Powerade and Samsung for the EuroLeague Final Four in Istanbul, which concluded Sunday. Powerade received signage throughout the city, and also had exposure at all official press conferences and on the backstop LED screens during all games...”
The Washington Post
Euroleague team celebrates championship by cutting off player’s man bun
“Fenerbahce Istanbul defeated Olympiacos Piraeus, 80-64, to win its first Euroleague title Sunday. Luigi “Gigi” Datome, who played briefly in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics, finished with 11 points and six rebounds for Fenerbahçe but lost his man bun during the team’s postgame celebration as the result of a bet. Former Atlanta Hawks center Pero Antic did the honors and was apparently working with the type of safety scissors favored by preschool teachers because it took him a good 30 seconds to cut through Datome’s locks as teammates looked on.”
Salt Bae Celebrates Fenerbahce's League Title with Team
“Salt Bae just won't go away. The social media star famous for his dramatic methods of curing meat was seen celebrating with Fenerbahce after capturing the Turkish Airlines Euroleague championship on Sunday.Fenerbahce defeated Olympiacos 80-64, but the real victory came in the postgame celebration with the one and only Salt Bae."
Instant Awesome: Trick shooters make ridiculous basketball shot into hoop on moving boat
“Throwing a basketball off a super tall building and into a hoop is awesome, but how about throwing that ball off multiple ancient buildings and making them all? Better yet, how about off an ancient building in Istanbul into a hoop on a massive moving boat?... The Aussie trick shooters from How Ridiculous were back at it again but this time from the ancient buildings of Istanbul… The trick shooters were in Istanbul sinking the shots to promote the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final 4.”
Three Thoughts about Fenerbahce from the Final Four
“Despite going up against one of Europe’s premiere basketball powers and one of the Top-10 players in Euroleague history (Vassilis Spanoulis), the blue and yellow didn’t disappoint, capitalizing on a hot start (thanks to some solid outside shooting from beyond the arc, especially from Nikola Kalinic) and the rabid fans en route to their 16 point championship victory.”
The Maestro: The numbers behind the Obradovic victory
“11 – the number of appearances the Serbian fox has made in finals of the chief European competition. He has 81.8% success.
16 – the number of appearances Obradovic has in the Final Four.
57 – the age of Zeljko Obradovic, who was born in 1960. He was the oldest of the coaches at this season’s Final Four.
386 – the number of victories Obradovic has in European competitions from 533 games. That is of course a record. He has a 72.4% success rate.”
For the first time in history, Fenerbahce is European champion
“The 2016-17 EuroLeague season ended Sunday night with the final game in which Turkey’s Fenerbahce made history when it defeated Olympiacos 80-64 and celebrated its first European championship in front of 15,600 in the stands, who created a simply electric atmosphere at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul. He who led the team in yellow was Zeljko Obradovic, who celebrated his ninth title (with four different teams) and proved once again that he is one of the best coaches the continent has ever known.”
Fenerbahce is EuroLeague champion
“At Sinan Erdem on Sunday, the Olympiacos Piraeus players were in a Turkish hell. Stormy fans supported the local Fenerbahce team, and this gave them the title. In its second EuroLeague final, Fenerbahce defeated Olympiacos 80-64... Fenerbahce became the first Turkish team to win this trophy. Olympiacos has won three times (1997, 2012 and 2013) and four more times played the finals.“
Fenerbahce Istanbul is the first Turkish winner
“Fenerbahce Istanbul was the first Turkish basketball club to win the EuroLeague. At the Final Four at Sinan Erdem Dome, the hosts finished in the final against Olympiacos Piraeus with 80-64. Last season, Fenerbahce lost the final of the Final Four in Berlin against CSKA Moscow.”
Joel Freeland, CSKA Finish Third in EuroLeague
“Joel Freeland took to the court for the first time at the EuroLeague Final Four weekend in Istanbul as CSKA Moscow secured a third placed finish. The GB forward went 1-of-2 from the line and collected two rebounds in three minutes of action as the Russian side defeated Real Madrid 94-70 having lost 82-78 to Olympiacos on Friday. Freeland did not play in the semi-final defeat and averaged 4.9 minutes in 15 appearances in the competition in another injury hit season for the former NBA forward.”
Fenerbahce fans go up to eleven
“Fenerbahce basketball fans must also have amps which turn up to eleven, because I don't think I have ever witnessed a louder atmosphere at a sporting event than this weekend in Istanbul, where hometown team Fenerbahce were crowned kings of Europe by beating Greek side Olympiacos in the EuroLeague final.”
The greatest among the greatest: No one can put a pressure on me as much as I can put pressure on myself
"Next to the name of Zelimir Obradovic there will always be a title count. He will be described as the one with the most trophies, the most successful, winningest, with most Final Fours…but what will be added only in rare situations, will be changing people around himself, routines and worlds. That transformation of a football giant Fenerbahce into a basketball great is the first thing that you can see. And what makes the 57-year old from Cacak the most proud."
It is not the money, it is the great Zeljko Obradovic
"Since the start of the playoff series with Panathinaikos, Fenerbahce players were in that state of absolute concentration that cannot be described with words, it needs to be seen. It is a state that each player will surely do what he knows how to do, but it is a great probability it will also surprise with something that is not his specialty. And, most importantly, each will be ready to die for one another on the court, which with the player resources Fener has, means only one thing – impeccable defense, defense that wins trophies."
Fenerbahce wins EuroLeague, Serbian trio with the trophy
"The EuroLeague trophy is in the hands of a trio of Serbian champions. In the Istanbul final in front of its fans, Fenerbahce left Olympiacos without any hope (80-64). Turkish basketball has entered the history books with head coach Zeljko Obradovic winning his ninth title with a fifth different club (Partizan, Joventut, Real, Panathinaikos), and heroes on the floor of Sinan Erdem Dome in Nikola Kalinic and Bogdan Bogdanovic."
Man called basketball
"Many will say that Zeljko Obradovic wrote history of European basketball on Sunday night. Totally incorrect. Maybe Zoc helped the Turks to climb to the top of the Old Continent for the first time, but for him, the championship game win over Olympiacos was just an ordinary day at the office. Zeljko Obradovic long time ago stopped writing basketball history, he became basketball himself."