"Good afternoon. I want to welcome all fans, players, coaches, sponsors and media to our new edition of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Unfortunately, I cannot welcome a Final Four regular, our good friend Mr. Hamdi Topcu, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board, due to the terrible situation that Turkey is going through due to the tragic mining accident on Tuesday, in which more than 280 people died. Euroleague Basketball joins Turkish Airlines in extending its sincerest condolences. To honor the victims and to extend best wishes for the recovery of the injured, Euroleague Basketball has mandated a minute of silence before each semifinal game on Friday. The observance of silence from the family of European basketball gathered in Milan and those watching around the world is offered in the spirit of solidarity built over the years between Euroleague Basketball and the people of Turkey, whose need for solace will remain uppermost in our minds. We hope for a successful outcome from the ongoing rescue effort and wish a speedy recovery to those miners who fortunately survived the fire.
"We are sad but also excited, nervous and feeling great responsibility to deliver a great basketball weekend to all of our fans. We want the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four to be the perfect closure for an incredible season, with many great games and a new attendance record which increased 10%, and an increased TV coverage to a record 201 countries. A lot of good things will happen - and to make them happen, four great clubs, four great brands who are writers of European basketball history, with a bright present and an ambitious future.
"We came to Milan, a capital of fashion and a historic city with a long basketball tradition and an enormous touristic attraction. To make it happen, we have prepared a huge number of activities during this long weekend that will be developed in a golden triangle featuring Mediolanum Forum, Tensostruttura Lido and here, the iconic Piazza del Duomo. In the 12,538-seat Mediolanum Forum in the Assago municipality, we will offer a world-class basketball show to match the excellence of our four teams. The Tensostruttura Lido, within one of Milan's biggest public parks, invites fans to watch for free the world's greatest gathering of young basketball talent - the Nike International Junior Tournament. The third point that completes the golden triangle is here, Milan's world-renowned Piazza del Duomo, inaugurating its activities with this awards ceremony and this press conference - and continuing with the Fan Zone, featuring three-point shooting and slam dunk contests, three-on-three tournaments, appearances by sports legends and One Team activities. The goal is to make our event closer to the city of Milan and our fans.
"I want to express our gratitude to all of our players, coaches and referees. They represent the enormous talent we have. Thanks to sponsors and partners - bwin, Efes, Spalding, adidas, Intersport, EA7 Emporio Armani, VTB Arena, detur, Viagogo, 2K and New Era, all of our TV partners and of course Turkish Airlines, our title sponsor that has renewed its faith in our project and will continue supporting the best basketball in Europe until 2020 at least. All of you make this competition possible.
"Our last gratitude goes to the Comune di Milano. Chiara [Bisconti] has showed great commitment to our project from the very beginning, helping us solve all problems. We are ready to deliver a great basketball weekend to you. Thank you and enjoy the Final Four."