I think we are all clear that in professional sports the least important thing of all is sport. I no longer want to talk about what the athletes tell in the film for the leaders. It is played every three days, there is no time to train to improve. Everything is to recover from the previous game and travel for the new game. Each competition looks for itself and does not take into account the others. The sole purpose is to earn as much money as possible to share among everyone, but trying to make your piece of the pie as big as possible and that nobody touches that piece.
In this maelstrom of everything for business, nothing happens because a World Cup is organized in Qatar, that the league stops so that the World Cup is played in December, that the Spanish Super Cup is also held in Arabia, that Madrid plays the semifinals of the Champions League three days after playing the final of the Copa del Rey, that the Euroleague teams have weeks in which they play four games or that the national basketball teams cannot count on NBA and Euroleague players in the qualifications for the big competitions.
In this business, anything goes to earn more money, so it is normal that when you have to organize a final, final phase or a Final Four in basketball, the city that bids the most to win the event is the one that wins it. It doesn’t matter if the city is prepared or not to organize these matches, or the movement that the teams have to make is more or less easy. Later you can sell the motorcycle you want, but whoever puts in the most money takes the cat into the water.
You already know that Unicaja qualified for the Final Four of the BCL, a European competition organized by FIBA. Malaga was one of the cities that had made an important commitment to organize that Final Four. But a tough competitor came up in the city of Jerusalem. The problem was not in which city it was better prepared, had more experience in organizing events of this type or which sports hall was better. It was all a question of the economic offer that was made to win the final phase and the money offered by Jerusalem to FIBA tripled that offered by Malaga. This made everyone think that Unicaja would play that Final Four in Jerusalem. There was only hope that the Israeli city team, Hapoel, would fail to beat AEK Athens in the third game of the quarterfinal playoff. If Hapoel lost that match on home ground and was eliminated, the possibility of hosting the BCL finals was also eliminated.
Hopes were very low because Hapoel were clearly favorites and played at home. The normal thing is that the game won, as it did. He won and he did it, in addition, by 40 points. But the show that was seen in that game was very serious. Of course, the Palacio de Deportes, where the Jerusalem team plays at home, was full. There was no room for a pin. They did not stop cheering for their team but also intimidating their rivals and the referees. Laser pointers aimed at the eyes of the Greek players at free-kicks, people on the court shouting at the referees, AEK timeouts that had to meet on the pitch because the spectators behind the bench did not allow these they sat down and communicated by the atrocious noise that they produced with lethal horns. Everything reminded you precisely of the Greek courts in the eighties, but we thought that it was already a distant memory and that this did not happen. Well yes it keeps happening.
Once the game was over it seemed that everything was decided and that the economic gamble of Jerusalem would take the prize. The following day, FIBA announced the venue that would organize the Final Four of its competition. The surprise is that they awarded it to Malaga. They sold that they had opted for our city due to the experience in organizing events like this, that the city was ideal. They even alluded to the conflict that exists in Israel with the Syrians.
The point is that the politicians of our city and of the Junta de Andalucía who were aware of the negotiation with FIBA, knew that the event would go to Jerusalem because the economic offer was much higher. Surely they were clear about it because someone from FIBA itself would have informed them of this.
But FIBA has shown some sense of sanity in this decision and they have opted for Málaga, sure that what happened on Wednesday afternoon in that Hapoel – AEK match will not be repeated again. If they want to compete with the Euroleague, they must take care of the image of their competition and what we saw in that game is not an example of anything.
The fans of Malaga do know how to play this type of match from the stands in a sporting manner. This is indeed a great example for FIBA. Let’s show once again that we are one of the best fans in Europe, that FIBA was not wrong with the decision made and let’s help Unicaja win its second title of the season. This would be milk.