Though co-editors/-writers David Hein and yours truly are new to “Road to the Association” and the FanSided network, we’ve been doing one of the few international basketball-based podcasts (not to mention most probably the longest) available online for nearly two years now. This week saw the release of the 100th episode of “Taking the Charge.”
For the gala event, we’ve put together a ton of good stuff spread over four hours – hey, you’ve got all week to have a listen and we promise we won’t match this length for some time to come. The agenda looks something as follows.
First up are accolades to a pair of this year’s Professional Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, former Golden State Warrior/Team Lithuania star Sarunas Marciulionis and ex-commissioner David Stern: Arguably two of the most significant contributors to today’s wonderfully international NBA landscape. Key stat? How about the fact that four non-Americans suited up to play in the big league when Stern ascended to the top spot in 1984, compared with the 92 on Opening Day rosters in 2013? Key bit of trivia: Name the four. Answers within the podcast.
As for this year’s edition of Team USA gearing up to play in the FIBA World Cup, we examine the absence of Kevin Durant in terms of reasoning (a $350 million endorsement deal with Under Armour signed about 24 hours before KD bowed out; what’s the connection?) and effect on the team’s prospects as consensus favorite. Os must be crazy for worrying at all, some might say, but the red, white and blue looked pretty fearsome in 2004, too, didn’t they?
Since David is currently covering the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai, we’ve got some insight on virtually every team in that competition, including interviews with Team Australia’s Isaac Humphries, who’s enjoying a monster tournament and Malik Newman of this beastly USA side.
FIBA Europe Secretary-General Kamil Novak gave us about a half-hour’s worth of his time to address some issues the fans of the international game may have, including the sticky situation regarding the pulling of the EuroBasket 2015 hosting duties from Ukraine, the dismaying end to the past Turkish Basketball League season and, perhaps most significantly, the major overhaul of the format for future FIBA World Cups. Believe it or not, Novak actually presents a salient argument for spreading qualifying rounds throughout the calendar year a la FIFA. (We’ll be referring to it as the Tony Parker conundrum.)
Our final guest is longtime Toronto Raptors assistant GM Maurizio Gherardini, the first-ever European to hold a front office job in the NBA. Gherardini’s back on The Continent for 2014-15, where he’ll be helming the Fenerbahce Ulker front office. The GM gives us insight into why European players are typically more sound in the fundamentals and attempts to make a case for the perhaps slightly unfairly judged career of his countryman and former charge in Toronto, Andrea Bargnani.
Finally, as is traditional, the podcast’s final segment is devoted to reviewing a sports movie. In honor of reaching the big 100, we look back on “Hoop Dreams,” a truly classic documentary itself celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014.