Maccabi Tel Aviv wins Euroleague

I wasn’t a basketball fan before now…

From the Times of Israel:

Maccabi Tel Aviv wins Euroleague final 98-86

Israeli champions beat Spain’s Real Madrid in overtime, crowned kings of Europe in Milan

Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv won the Euroleague basketball final 96-86 Sunday night against Real Madrid in Milan in a nail-biting overtime victory.

Maccabi chalked up its first European championship win since back-to-back wins in 2004 and 2005, and its sixth overall.

The Tel Aviv team had not been fancied even to make the final four, and only secured its final place with a last-seconds victory over the mighty CSKA Moscow on Friday.

Maccabi point guard Yogev Ohayon, speaking on Israel Radio seconds after Sunday’s victory was sealed, described the win as “unbelievable… I’m in complete shock.” Fellow player Devin Smith said the fans had been crucial, turning the Milan stadium “into Nokia” — Maccabi’s home Tel Aviv stadium.

Other Maccabi players and coaches called it the greatest victory in the team’s history, eclipsing even its first, legendary 1977 championship, when then captain Tal Brody had proclaimed, “We are on the map.” The delighted surprise at the triumphant culmination of the season contrasted utterly with the team’s shaky start in 2013-14, when it lost numerous domestic games, to the point where there were calls for the sacking of Boston-born coach David Blatt.

Read it all, here.

Quite something. Well done, Maccabi.

Now, if only our soccer teams could get a portion of that success…