The return of one of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague's greatest coaches, David Blatt, to his adopted country of Israel forms the emotional backbone of the fifth episode of The Journey, a behind-the-scenes broadcast series tracking five teams in the competition from the opening tip until this season's champion is crowned.
The current Olympiacos Piraeus head coach spent most of a decade as an assistant and head coach with Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv, culminating with a run to the 2014 EuroLeague title in unexpected fashion. "Those nine years as part of the organization, together with the many, many great moments and special kinds of experiences and achievements, sort of defined my European career to a great extent," Blatt recalls for the cameras of The Journey.
Blatt's return in the midst of a losing streak for his team is made more intriguing by the fact that Ioannis Sfairopoulos, the man he replaced at Olympiacos, is now sitting in his old seat at a resurgent Maccabi. Their teams put on a battle that goes down to the last shot and exemplifies all the emotions of the playoffs race.
Also in Episode 5:
- Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul guard Ali Muhammed talks about his sense of belonging in Turkey and coach Zeljko Obradovic about playing against his former team, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
- The Journey takes a look at the youth instruction system of Real Madrid through the eyes of young Santi Yusta, who came through when the club needed him most last year and helped conquer the EuroLeague title.
- FC Bayern Munich rises into the thick of the playoffs race even without the services of injured center Devin Booker, who was a special spectator as his team downed league leaders Fenerbahce.
Euroleague Basketball launched The Journey this season as part of its commitment to bringing fans as close as possible to their heroes. The Journey joins The Insider EuroLeague Documentary Series, now in its fourth season, to expand Euroleague Basketball's tradition of long-form story-telling that puts fans not only on the bench for games, but on the team bus, too.
The Journey allows Euroleague Basketball broadcast partners to give viewers world-wide an intimate look at five teams – CSKA, Fenerbahce, Bayern, Olympiacos and Madrid – whose adventures unfold over eight monthly installments in a 26-minute format until May.