L'Equipe is widely credited for birthing the idea of European club competition. In 1954, Gabriel Hanot, a journalist for the French sports newspaper saw a friendly football game between England's Wolverhampton and Hungarian side Honved and was inspired.
There is one thing that Panathinaikos’ president Pavlos Yannakopoulos will never accept: failure.
Since Limoges had taken home the 1993 title with a game based on defense, many European teams throughout the years had adopted this style of play.
After ten Final Fours, the odds for the favourites were terrible. In 10 years, the team with the best record during the regular season had never won the trophy.
After Panathinaikos pioneering victory in 1996, powerful Olympiakos, finalist in 1994 and 95, could not let its domestic championship runner-up get all the European glory.
Between Aris Thessaloniki, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, Greek clubs have been eight times to the Final Four.
Arvydas Sabonis had won everything except the ultimate club competition. For what was his last season in Europe before joining the Portland Trailblazers, the Lithuanian star led Real Madrid to victory, overwhelming Olympiakos Piraeus (73-61) in the final game.
When a game is on the line, anything can happen. A turnover, a missed shot, one second of doubt and a title can slip away from you. That’s what had happened to Joventut Badalona in 1992. A buzzer beater had ended their dreams of winning the Final Four.
One year after the “Istanbul miracle” (Partizan’s upset over Joventut), another underdog, Limoges, stunned European basketball in the Peace and Friendship Stadium of Piraeus, Greece.
Although the 1991 season ended with an unforgettable third consecutive win for Split in Paris, the 1992 final was also a great one to remember. The departure of its superstar, Toni Kukoc, who left for Treviso, and the first signs of war which led to the team’s splitting up, had left the European champs out of the race.