The son of a Hall of Fame athlete in another sport, Anadolu Efes Istanbul star Shane Larkin has taken the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by storm this season on the heels of a historic 2019 Final Four in which he led the team to the championship game for the first time in club history. Larkin's backstory, including the support of his loving family, is at the heart of INShANE, the newest film in the Euroleague Basketball Insider Documentary Series.
The Larkin family does not lack for talent; Shane's father Barry played 19 seasons of Major League Baseball and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, the summer before Shane's breakout season in college. One of Shane's sisters, Cymber, is a songwriter and recording artist. He also has uncles with decorated histories in basketball, baseball and American football. But right now, all eyes are on Shane and his amazing accomplishments on courts all across Europe.
"I feel like we were just kind of born with the ability to just… to be able to perform under pressure," his sister Cymber Larkin shared. "Shane gets on the court, whatever he's doing, whatever situation he gets put in, he's comfortable, he's calm, he's gonna get through it. So that's kinda just been something that we've always all had growing up and to this day, we still like push through and get through it and just perform."
Even though Shane did not follow in his father's footsteps, Barry is not at all surprised that his son has turned into a basketball star. As he spoke about during the filming of INShANE, the baseball great had a feeling about Shane's athletic talents at a very young age.
"He always wants the ball in his hands in the ballgame, and he always would practice on making game-winning shots. He is maniacal about work, work, work, work, work. But I certainly knew as a father, and more importantly, as an athlete, that he had something special very very early, probably five, six, seven years old," Barry Larkin said. "To see the things that we worked on when he was seven, him doing now when he's 27, it's just absolutely amazing."
Being an elite basketball player does not always translate into wins and since it's a team sport, winning is all that really matters. Shane Larkin is among the rare breed of player who can combine individual excellence with team success and the chase for titles.
"When you have a person of that kind of individual capacity to jell in with the team and to be a part of the team. And he has added extra to this with his competitive spirit, with his teammates in the locker room, outside. And this, we feel, allows him to flourish," Efes assistant coach Tomislav Mijatovic explained.
To really get at the essence of Shane Larkin the basketball player and why he loves playing in the EuroLeague, we let the player do the talking:
"That's something, as a basketball player, it's something I believe. You should always want the responsibility. That's one of the reasons I love playing in Europe, because that is my responsibility," Shane Larkin said. "The teams that I'm on, the coaches look at me and at the end of the games, they're like: 'Alright, get Shane the ball.'"
INShANE is the latest film in the Euroleague Basketball Insider Documentary Series, which has profiled the greats of European basketball past and present including.
Born in 2015, The Insider Documentary Series goes beyond the glare of game nights and digs into the personal stories of the biggest European basketball stars. The Insider cameras capture the intimacy behind the spotlights and provide full access to the protagonists and the people who know them best. Past Insider Documentaries have profiled coaches like Zeljko Obradovic; players like Luka Doncic, Nando De Colo and Vassilis Spanoulis; referee Anne Prather; championship teams such as Maccabi Tel Aviv from 2004 and 2005 and CSKA Moscow of 2019, and cities such as Istanbul and Belgrade – all taking viewers to the heart of what makes basketball a sport that moves people so deeply.