| The title of Euroleague champion was a long time coming for one Regal FC Barcelona player in particular. Gianluca Basile had already played as many games any Euroleague player this decade. And in the last minute of the 199th one, he was not taking any chances. Although Barcelona was leading by 11 points against Olympiacos in the title game, Basile made doubly sure of victory by hitting an open three-pointer and assisting on another to account for the last six points for the new champions. With that, Basile not only got his hands on the first Euroleague trophy of his career, but at 35, was the oldest player to score points in a Euroleague final since 2002. "With five minutes left, I was on the bench, feeling great emotions. I had tears in my eyes," Basile told Euroleague.net. "Then, when I had the trophy in my hands, it was something unbelievable."
Gianluca, you talked about having waited 11 years to win the Euroleague title. How did that moment feel for you when it finally arrived?
"I have to tell you that since the beginning of the season, seeing how well we played, I felt that we could do great things. Then in Paris, we beat CSKA, the team we suffered against mentally in previous years. Then on the court during the final, I realized that we were stronger and had only to do all the
things we did during the season to win. With five minutes left, I was on the bench, feeling great emotions. I had tears in my eyes. I knew we still had to wait until the end of the game, but I had to get back on the court to keep those emotions in check. Then, when I had the trophy in my
hands, it was something unbelievable."
One of your teammates said the Euroleague trophy made his career complete. Did it mean the same thing for you?
"I don't remember how many finals I played in my career, ten or eleven, but I did not win many of them. I got titles with Fortitudo and Barça, I won
a European title with the national team and a silver medal at the Olympics, and those will stay in my heart forever. But I would like to win more
titles and this team, starting from with the Spanish League this season, has the possibility to get more titles in the upcoming seasons."
During the celebration, you were arguably the player most congratulated by teammates, fans and even former teammates. Did that make it even more
"If you play on such a big team as Barça, and you don't score 20 points per game, it probably means a lot. A winning team needs superstars and
players who keep together and do the dirty work, but who also talk with the coach and his teammates. It's impossible to have team with ten superstars and think about winning titles, because everybody want to be the most important. I think I showed all my professionalism and manners."
At Bercy, you have won both your biggest international trophy, the European title with Italy, and your biggest club trophy, the Euroleague with Barcelona. Does that make Paris your lucky city?
"I probably have to buy a home in Paris! It's like a movie! When I knew that the Final Four would be hosted in Paris, I thought: 'Maybe life gives you this incredible luck!' And it happened, and it really is like a movie. I started there by winning the European Championship when I was a young player and I was back here as a veteran to win the Euroleague! Eleven years later on the same court. Unbelievable!"
Looking back at Final Four weekend, the semifinal was a tough defensive battle that you survived. Did losing against CSKA in the 2006 and 2009 semifinals become an extra motivation to beat them this time?
"It was the result of our work. Our confidence grew day-by-day, game-by-game with our daily work. We arrived there knowing that we could beat CSKA this time. We did not have the same confidence in 2006 and 2009. We knew now that we were stronger, but by arriving at the Final Four, we had already done a great job during all the season, for sure. You cannot build a win in a day, a week, or a month: you need a season, starting back on the first day, and we did it that way."
The final against Olympiacos was totally different, more offensive-minded, and Barcelona showed it can dominate playing fast or slow.
Was it difficult to switch speeds in just 48 hours?
"It was not a problem for two reasons. We had done the same in the Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey finals. But as I said before it was the result of a year-long job. During the season, we prepared all the possible defensive options, thanks to the great work of our coach and his assistants. We were ready in all situations to adapt our choices to the choices of our opponents. That's everything!"
You have been in many very good teams during your career, but is this 2009-10 Regal FC Barcelona the best of them all?
"It's probably the team that has played better basketball on both ends of the court, and with all the players always on the same page. I played on Fortitudo together with big players like Myers, Fucka, Karnisovas, Galanda, Vrankovic; an outstanding team, yes, but even though we had high peaks, we did not play like this Barça team on both sides of the court. Here, everybody is saying that this is the best Barça team ever."
You lead the Euroleague in three-pointers this decade, some of them quite unbelievable. How did you perfect your three-pointer, and what is the shot they call 'tiro ignorante'?
"When I started playing with Reggio Emilia, I could create. I was young and so I penetrated a lot, shot from mid-range and just rarely from downtown. When I went to play at Fortitudo, I had to adapt my game to the system there, and to the other big players. Since Myers created, I had just to wait and shoot! I started working on my shot from beyond the arc, improving my moves and my percentage. The 'tiro ignorante' is just a fashion, a name, but it's a shot from very long distance, maybe close to the 24-second buzzer, or in the clutch, nothing special."
You have played 199 Euroleague games this decade, as much as any other player. The big question is - will we see you play your 200th game - and beyond?
"I hope that Barcelona will confirm me for the next season, but if it doesn't happen, I will look for a team playing in the Euroleague, because I want to play my 200th game - and more!"