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Participants Relish All Star Experience

20.03.2007

There was something for everyone at the 2007 All Star Game in Cyprus.

Those looking for basketball had the game itself, the three-point shootout and dunk contest, while those looking for entertainment  were offered a post-game concert by Cypriot singer Michalis Hadjiyiannis, as well as appearances by the Matadors, Luvabulls and BC Khimki cheerleaders.

The more serious attendees could satisfy themselves with the coaching and referee clinics held as part of the event or the third European basketball conference featuring speakers such as BC Kyiv President Alexander Volkov.

The Matadors
The Matadors at the All Star Game
For the players, the event offered a chance to relax for a couple of days with some of their colleagues from around Europe.

"It was good to be here with all these great players, a great experience. I was happy to be selected and I enjoyed it," said All Star rookie Marc Gasol.

"I have seen most of these guys play and played against them and it was a great experience to be around them," added Turk Telekom center Erwin Dudley.

Khalid El-Amin is something of an All Star veteran with three appearances to his name, but that had done nothing to dent his enjoyment of the event.

"It was a great game, you know every time, this is my third time here and I always enjoy it and I love Cyprus," he said.

"I am happy it was a good game, an exciting game I think and very close at the end. The main thing is that the fans enjoyed it."

It was not just the players who enjoyed the festivities. Former Chicago Bulls announcer Ray Clay was also in town to introduce the 2007 All Stars.

"It was fun, the fans were really into it and both teams played very well," said Clay.

He also got the chance to take a close look at some of Europe's top players.

"Sometimes it is hard to gauge with an All Star Game because everyone is out there freelancing and you don’t work together as a cohesive unit so it was a little bit of a rough game. But there were some good players and Erwin Dudley really did a nice job out there. I think he definitely deserved his MVP."

For Lemesos forward Milutin Aleksic, the All Star Game is another step in the continual improvement of basketball in Cyprus.

"This is my second time in a row in the game and I really enjoyed it. Basketball makes one step forward every year and this is very important," he said. 

"Every year the target is bigger but I have to say that  every year better players come and the competition gets better."

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