The new 2017-18 season guarantees many special moments, and one of those is set to happen on Friday at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in Belgrade, where the visitors from FC Barcelona Lassa will become the first in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague to reach 400 games played this century. A special occasion for Barcelona will soon follow for four other teams that are all set to reach the same milestone in the coming months.
Next on the list is Olympiacos Piraeus, which sits at 394 games and is set to reach the 400 mark in Round 7. The round after that will be the turn of CSKA Moscow (currently at 393), followed by Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (390) a week later and later by Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens (384) which is set to play its game No. 400 in Round 17.
Reaching this milestone before any other club symbolizes the excellence and continuity that Barcelona represents in the world of basketball. Barcelona has lasted the longest over the years in the competition by winning nearly 70% of the games it has played. Barcelona has so far registered 275 wins, which is second-most this century, and those wins have taken the club to some historic heights. During this 399-game span, Barcelona has lifted two EuroLeague titles, in 2003 and 2010, and has appeared in a total of seven Final Fours.
Olympiacos is another team that has appeared in each of the 18 EuroLeague seasons . Not only have the Reds never missed a EuroLeague season, but they have never played fewer than 14 games in a single campaign either. Olympiacos has played the most EuroLeague playoff games, 47, on the way to making six Final Four appearances and is one of only two teams this century to lift back-to-back continental titles, in 2012 and 2013.
CSKA is third on this list, but has closed in on its own milestone over one fewer season. Despite fewer opportunities, CSKA is still a runaway leader this century with 305 wins, for the competition's highest win percentage, 77.6%, and has scored an all-time best 32,022 points for an 81.5-point average. Even more impressively, no team has played more Final Four games than CSKA's 28 during its remarkable run of 14 Final Four appearance in the last 15 seasons.
Baskonia, another team that is yet to miss a EuroLeague season, has many highlights of its own which have led to the club ranking second on the list of points scored this century, with 31,613. The club made the playoff finals under the name Tau Ceramica in the inaugural 2000-01 EuroLeague season before falling in a fifth and final game on the road against Kinder Bologna. Tau also had four consecutive Final Four appearances, and only CSKA has a streak longer than that in the history of the event since 1988.
The last team assured of reaching the 400-game milestone this season is Panathinaikos. No team matches the four EuroLeague titles that the Greens have won this century, and they are also among top four teams in playoffs (41) and Final Four (12) games played. Interestingly, Panathinaikos is set to reach the milestone on its home floor against the very team that becomes first to break this impressive mark – Barcelona.