Luka Doncic, of course. Or Rudy Gobert. And Dennis Schroeder. It's the big names of the players from the North American elite league NBA who have left their mark on the European Championship tournament so far. Slovenia regularly benefit from their exceptional player, with Doncic managing to score more than 30 points in three consecutive games for the first time in 30 years. For France, it was Minnesota Timberwolves center Gobert who led his team to the Quarterfinals with 20 points and 17 rebounds. So players who earn millions in the NBA, still put themselves in the service of their national team - and in view of the extremely demanding season overseas, they do without the days of rest that are actually urgently needed.
The advancement of France and Slovenia is probably the last proof that the German team, which is known to be led by Dennis Schröder, has prevailed in the toughest preliminary round group. The Lithuanians almost completed the complete triumph of Group B, but the Balts lost out to world champions Spain after extra time. In both teams, of course, NBA professionals are involved, in Lithuania it's the center duo Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis, the so-called "Lithuanian Twin Towers". In a nerve-wracking game, Lithuania was mostly ahead before the Spaniards, who have three players from the NBA in their ranks in the Hernangomez brothers Willy and Juancho and Usman Garuba, developed a lead in the closing stages.
Lithuania equalized with the final siren, in extra time it was Lorenzo Brown on the Iberian side who decided the game. The native American, who contributed 28 points, had been naturalized in an urgent procedure, which was not exactly appreciated by Spanish basketball greats like Rudy Fernandez. In this way, you deprive your own talents of places in the team and the opportunity to make a name for yourself at the highest European level.
Brown also grew up in the NBA, but then trotted through various top clubs in Europe and now plays for Israeli Euroleague club Maccabi Tel Aviv. This is also one of the findings of these continental title fights: the majority of the players from the teams qualified for the quarter-finals go to work for Euroleague clubs. The European elite league, similar to the Champions League in football, is now organized as a league-like game. Which means for the players, who are also challenged in the national leagues, that 80 season games are not uncommon - like in the NBA.
The level of European basketball has improved significantly as a result, the best indication is the fact that more and more European players are switching to the NBA - and can now be seen at this European Championship tournament. How good the European NBA players are is shown by the fact that in the past four seasons Europeans have always been voted the most valuable players: twice it was the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo and recently twice the Serb Nikola Jokic. Both are currently on the floor at the European Championships in Berlin.