On the eve of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four tip-off in Madrid, more than 250 distinguished guests enjoyed a gala event organized by Euroleague title sponsor Turkish Airlines on Thursday night. Held in the city's beautiful cultural heritage building, Casino de Madrid, the festivity celebrated the 2015 Final Four and 30 years of Turkish Airlines connecting Istanbul with Madrid.
Among the many distinguished guests invited to the celebration to enjoy great company, delicious food and good music, were the VIP corporate partners of Turkish Airlines, dignitaries from Euroleague Basketball, executives from the Final Four teams, Euroleague sponsors and media partners, as well as a pair of Euroleague's basketball legends.
"After 30 years of working together in Spain, it is our pleasure to convey our deepest appreciation for our partners and friends. Our Turkish hospitality incites us to celebrate with you all this important anniversary," Dr. Temel Kotil, Deputy Chairman and CEO of Turkish Airlines, said while welcoming the guests. "It is also an honor to sponsor the Final Four. What I learned from the last five years of sponsoring the Turkish Airlines Euroleague is that the airline business and basketball is the same story, and it is the same way of wanting things. And that details make you win it."
Turkish Airlines and Euroleague Basketball are in the middle of a decade-long partnership, during the first half of which they have launched many projects together. Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO of Euroleague Basketball, pointed out to the gala guests that the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four is much more than just basketball.
"We are very proud to be a part of this 30-year anniversary celebration," Mr. Bertomeu said. "Euroleague Basketball just celebrated its 15th anniversary, which shows we have a long way ahead of us. I want to express our commitment to Turkish Airlines, our wish to help it keep growing. I believe we both share the wish to keep growing together. We want to be part of your journey, help you fly even higher, and we have many tall guys to help you do that. The Final Four is about basketball, about great teams trying to fight for the title, but it is more than that. It is also about people and about having fun. We want everybody to have fun at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Madrid."
The Turkish ambassador in Spain, Omer Onhon, also delivered a message about the larger meaning of the Final Four.
"Sports is a matter of friendship and message of peace, and I am hopeful that the games we are going to watch on Friday will be tranquil, peaceful and friendly," Mr. Ohnon said. "And in the end, whoever will be the better team, will win."
A pair of former Euroleague champions who know a thing or two about winning - Theo Papaloukas and Joe Arlauckas - were also in attendance.
"I played 20 years ago when we won our last championship, and as a player I don't remember all these beautiful things like this gala and many other events," said Arlauckas, a former Real Madrid star and 1995 Euroleague champion. "I think Turkish Airlines and Euroleague Basketball have done an amazing job and so many great things for basketball in all of Europe."