Basketball in 2022: what were the most memorable moments?

Basketball in 2022: what were the most memorable moments?

Updated: 1 month, 1 day, 15 hours, 56 minutes, 27 seconds ago

With 2022 coming to an end, BasketNews invites you to remember and relive the most memorable and exciting basketball moments of the year.

Credit: BasketNews illustration/M.Didė

With 2022 coming to an end, BasketNews invites you to remember and relive the most memorable and exciting basketball moments of the year.

It had plenty of exciting matchups, incredible finals, and unexpected transfers, followed by one of the best EuroBaskets ever, legends' retirements, among other memorable events.

So, take a seat and remember the most important basketball events of 2022.

 

January

5th: Dirk Nowitzki's no. 41 jersey was retired by the Dallas Mavericks, and the German superstar officially entered the history of the NBA franchise.

8th: Domantas Sabonis made his new career-high with 42 points in a win over the Utah Jazz. The son of basketball legend Arvydas also became the Lithuanian player to score the most points in a single game, breaking the previous record of Linas Kleiza.

9th: French forward Guerschon Yabusele decided to link his future to Real Madrid even more by signing a 3-year contract extension during the season.

13th: Ergin Ataman got ejected at Palau Blaugrana during the game against Barcelona. While leaving the court, the Turkish head coach put on a show, showing his fists to the audience and yelling 'I'm the champ'.

18th: EuroLeague announced its decision to move the Final Four from Berlin, where it was originally scheduled, to Belgrade. The decision was taken because of COVID restrictions in Germany.

19th: After his stint in the NBA, Gabriel Deck returned to Real Madrid and signed a deal until 2024

19th: Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic had an amazing triple-double against the LA Clippers, leading the Denver Nuggets to an overtime win. The Serbian maestro finished with 49 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists.

20th: American big man John Brown decided to shut down Barcelona with his amazing defensive skills. Brown had 7 steals in the win over Barcelona, his career-high in the EuroLeague and the season-high of the competition.

29th: Nikola Jokic became the first player in NBA history to have 400+ points, 200+ rebounds, and 100+ assists in a month. Another impressive milestone in the Serbian's big-man career.

February

10th: Kostas Sloukas won the game for Olympiacos with a clutch 3-pointer in the overtime of the match against Anadolu Efes.

15th: After more than three years, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Greek head coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos went separate ways. The coach was let go after failing to win the Israeli Cup.

23rd: Kevin Pangos officially signed a multi-year deal with CSKA Moscow just one day before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That deal will never take effect, as Pangos wouldn't join the team.

24th: Russia began its invasion of Ukraine's territory, completely changing the landscape of European basketball for the rest of the season. In the following weeks, EuroLeague decided to suspend the Russian clubs from their competitions.

25th: Ukrainian Monaco assistant coach Sergiy Gladyr showed support for his country during the EuroLeague game against Fenerbahce, writing the message 'stop war' on his tactic board.

26th: Georgian power forward Toko Shengelia decided to leave Russia and return to his home country after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Shortly after, Shengelia parted ways with CSKA Moscow.

March

1st: In line with the International Olympic Committee Executive Board resolution, FIBA announced that Russian teams and officials will not be allowed to participate in FIBA Basketball and 3x3 Basketball competitions until further notice. Moreover, FIBA Europe decided to suspend the candidature of Russia for FIBA EuroBasket 2025.

2nd: Daniel Hackett left CSKA Moscow for family reasons and due to the outgoing war in Ukraine. A few days later, he accepted Virtus Bologna's offer and followed Toko Shengelia to Italy. 

4th: The 2022 EuroLeague Final Four, which was due to be held in Berlin, was moved to Stark Arena, Belgrade. Four years after it successfully hosted the 2018 edition, where Real Madrid lifted its 10th continental title by defeating Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, the Serbian capital would again host the competition's main event.

In so doing, Belgrade joined Barcelona, Madrid, Berlin, and Istanbul as the only cities to host the event more than once this century.

20th: A career to remember came to an end for long-time NBA guard Jamal Crawford who announced his retirement on his 42nd birthday. Crawford will go down in history for his prolific scoring ability and for possessing one of the best handles in the NBA, where he spent 20 seasons between nine teams averaging 14.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists throughout his career.

Crawford is the only three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner in the league's history. He also became a Teammate of the Year in 2018 while playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

22nd: Three Russian clubs, CSKA Moscow, Zenit St. Petersburg, and UNICS Kazan, were officially excluded from the 2021-22 EuroLeague season.

The league's CEO Jordi Bertomeu suggested approving the Russian clubs' elimination and not listing them in the final EuroLeague standings, while the majority of ECA shareholders approved the decision.

CSKA, Zenit, and Unics ranked in the Top 8 before the suspension. However, all the games that involved Russian teams were annulled.

24th: Victor Wembanyama was spectacular as LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne beat Zalgiris in Kaunas (72-68) for EuroLeague Round 16.

The top NBA prospect registered his best performance in the competition with 14 points (6/7 2PT, 2/3 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5 blocks, 3 turnovers, and 23 in PIR. He exceeded his career-highs in the EuroLeague in scoring, efficiency, blocked shots, assists, steals, and minutes played.

29th: Dinos Mitoglou tested positive in the anti-doping control performed after the AX Armani Milan game against Panathinaikos OPAP in Athens.

The Greek international forward's suspension time is yet to be announced by WADA, but according to multiple reports, it will oscillate between two and four years.

Mitoglou, 28, is expected to appeal the decision in order to cut down his suspension time to one or two years, which will make him eligible to return to action during the 2023-24 season. 

April

1st: AS Monaco became the first team coming from the EuroCup to qualify for the EuroLeague playoffs in their first season in the competition. Since the arrival of coach Sasa Obradovic on the bench, the club from the Principality changed pace and was able to bounce back after a difficult period. 

2nd: Legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski's career came to an end. After battling it out until the very end, Coach K's Duke University Blue Devils lost to North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA March Madness Final Four matchup (77-81).

Krzyzewski won a record 1,202 games and five NCAA titles in his 47-year career. With Coach K, Duke advanced to 12 Final Fours in four different decades. They won five national championships in three different decades. Krzyzewski,75, also led USA Basketball to three Olympic Gold Medals in 2008, 2012, and 2016.

3rd: Paulius Jankunas played his last EuroLeague game in Kaunas, where Zalgiris beat 103-98 Crvena Zvezda in overtime. The Lithuanian forward, who spent almost the entirety of his career at Zalgiris, recorded 13 points and 7 rebounds in his farewell game.

3rd: Long-time Spanish coach Javier Imbroda passed away at the age of 61 after a six-year-long battle with cancer. Imbroda coached the Lithuanian national team in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where he won the bronze medal, he also won the silver medal in the 1999 EuroBasket as the assistant coach to Manuel 'Lolo' Sainz.

He later became the head coach of the Spanish national team and won the bronze medal in the 2001 EuroBasket in Turkey. The next year, his team managed to beat Team USA in the 2002 World Cup in Indianapolis.

12th: A major shakeup took place in Panathinaikos. Owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos decided to fire head coach Dimitris Priftis, president Panagiotis Triantopoulos, general managers Dimitris Diamantidis and Frangiskos Alvertis, and technical director Nikos Pappas.

"Instead of setting up a basketball project for the present and the future, they delivered a patchwork with eight foreign players," Giannakopoulos wrote of Alvertis and Diamantidis on his Instagram account.

Argyris Pedoulakis was appointed as the new technical director, while former assistant coach Giorgos Vovoras got promoted to the head-coaching post. 

21st: EuroCup underdogs Frutti Extra Bursaspor ousted Partizan NIS Belgrade at the competition's quarter-finals at Stark Arena by eliminating the favorites from the competition.

Andrew Andrews had 28 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists for the winners. The Turkish side edged out the Serbian powerhouse 103-95 in an overtime thriller. The team coached by Dejan Alimpijevic went on to make the final. 

May

4th: On April 30, Kevin Durant got his first taste of EuroLeague basketball when he paid a visit to Monaco to watch Mike James, his former Brooklyn Nets teammate, play against Olympiacos.

Durant was actively cheering the hosts and James in particular, and embraced several AS Monaco players after the final buzzer.

However, only five days later, the NBA superstar attended playoffs Game 5 in Piraeus. All hell broke loose at the end when fans invaded the court to celebrate the Reds' return to a Final Four after five years.

KD, as well as Academy-award-winning actress Emma Stone and director Giorgos Lanthimos, witnessed a rather unusual sight, even by Greek fans' standards. 

Durant called it "The apocalypse" on his Twitter account.

"Bring a flare to an NBA game if you want, and you might be in Rikers (jail in New York)," he also added regarding the crazy atmosphere at Peace and Friendship Stadium.

7th: In September 2021, Ioannis Bourousis decided to postpone his retirement plans to help his hometown team play in the top division for the first time. But as soon as Karditsa won their promotion to the Greek Basket League, the 38-year-old gave up playing and became the team's president.

Bourousis was a two-time All-EuroLeague First Team selection (2009, 2016) and Spanish League MVP (2016)

8th: In the Basketball Champions League Final, which also was a real Spanish derby, Lenovo Tenerife defeated BAXI Manresa 98-87. It was the second BCL title for Txus Vidorreta's side in a tournament hosted in his hometown of Bilbao.

Marcelinho Huertas was named the MVP of The Final 4. He scored 13 points, made 14 assists, and got 22 PIR.

9th: Former NBA and EuroLeague center Adreian Payne died in a shooting in Florida at the age of 31.

Payne was shot at 1:37 a.m. in Orlando and died at a local hospital. His alleged shooter, identified by the Orange County Sheriff's Office as Lawrence Dority, was apprehended at the scene and was arrested for first-degree murder.

Payne played at Michigan State from 2010 to 2014. He was a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, going No. 15 overall to the Atlanta Hawks. He went on to play for the Hawks (2014-15), Minnesota Timberwolves (2015-17), and Orlando Magic (2017-18).

In 2018, his career shifted overseas. Payne represented Panathinaikos Athens (2018, 2019) and ASVEL Villeurbanne (2019-20) in the EuroLeague.

9th: By leading all EuroLeague players in scoring with 18.2 points per game, Vasilije Micic of Anadolu Efes Istanbul won the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy for the 2021-22 season.

The Serbian guard was the 2020-21 EuroLeague MVP and 2021 Final Four MVP as he led Efes to the title. Micic's scoring average was more than 1.5 points higher than the runner-up, Nikola Mirotic of FC Barcelona (16.5 ppg.).

9th: Virtus Segafredo Bologna's center Mam Jaiteh was voted as the EuroCup MVP. The Frenchman averaged 12.8 points on 71.1% two-point shooting plus 7.5 rebounds for a fifth-ranked performance index rating of 18.1 over 22 minutes per game in 20 appearances.

11th: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and longtime NBA Global Ambassador Bob Lanier passed away at the age of 73 following a short illness.

11th: Virtus Segafredo Bologna were crowned EuroCup champions by downing Frutti Extra Bursaspor, 80-67. With that win, Virtus got a ticket to the 2022-23 EuroLeague season. They returned to the strongest continental league after a 14-year break.

Virtus not only won the EuroCup competition for the first time in the club's history but also became the first squad in Italy to do so. 

Milos Teodosic was outstanding for the winners, accumulating 21 points, 3 assists, 5 turnovers, and 15 PIR. The ball magician from Serbia became EuroCup's final MVP.

12th: Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was named NBA Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season. Jokic is the 13th player to win back-to-back MVPs.

The Serbian big man received 65 first-place votes and 875 points to outdistance Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (26 first-place votes, 706 points). Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (nine, 595) was third. 

Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.47 steals this season for the Nuggets. He led the NBA with 19 triple-doubles and became the first player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season.

18th: EuroLeague season awards ceremony took place.

FC Barcelona's Nikola Mirotic won the MVP award, while his teammate Rokas Jokubaitis snatched the Rising Star Trophy. EuroLeague Coach of the Year went to Olympiacos' Giorgos Bartzokas, Best Defender to his former player Kyle Hines, currently at Armani Milan.

Apart from Mirotic, the All-EuroLeague First Team consisted of Mike James (Monaco), Shane Larkin (Anadolu Efes), Sasha Vezenkov (Olympiacos), and Walter Tavares (Real Madrid).

21st: Anadolu Efes Istanbul won their back-to-back EuroLeague title by taking down Real Madrid 58-57 at Belgrade's Stark Arena, becoming the third team in EuroLeague history to defend their title after Olympiacos and Maccabi.

115 points combined is the lowest number of points scored in a EuroLeague final ever. For Anadolu Efes, only 5 players scored all the points, including Final Four MVP Vasilije Micic (23).

In the semi-finals, held on May 19, Micic sent Efes to the title game with a last-second 3-point shot against Olympiacos (77-74), while Real Madrid overcame regular season winners Barcelona 86-83, snapping their five-game losing streak against their main rivals.

26th: Jordi Bertomeu, who had been the face and the top executive of EuroLeague basketball for more than 20 years, was removed from his CEO role as the EuroLeague board voted the Catalan executive out.

However, Bertomeu remained in a consultant role for the first few months of the transition to the new scheme led by Dejan Bodiroga and Marshall Glickman. 

June

3rd: Zalgiris Kaunas and Lithuanian national team legend Paulius Jankunas played the last game of his career.

Zalgiris beat Siauliai 89-76 and captured the LKL bronze after winning 10 LKL titles in a row. Jankunas finished the game with 9 points and 5 rebounds in the finale of his storied 19-season career, 18 of which he played for Zalgiris.

5th: Dimitris Itoudis announces his departure from CSKA Moscow after 8 years with the club. He won two EuroLeague and six VTB League titles with the Russian team.

6th: Former Real Madrid head coach Pablo Laso suffered a myocardial infarction and was hospitalized. He was released soon but never returned to Real Madrid's bench. 

The Spanish tactician has been without a team since then.

6th: Crvena Zvezda became the Adriatic League champions after winning the decisive Game 5 against Partizan 80-77.

The whole series was followed by many incidents on and off the court, and Game 5 was no exception.

First, the beginning of the second half was delayed due to the decision of the referee Sasa Pukl to empty one part of the stands.

The Slovenian official saw that some Zvezda fans were in the part of the tribune near the tunnel, where, according to the ABA League ban, they should not be.

The chaos continued as all referees left the floor with 6:46 in the third tally after a missile barrage from the stands. Eventually, the players of both clubs also left the court for the locker room, and the game was interrupted.

Referees ordered the whole arena to be emptied. This took a long time as some fans were not too hurried to leave.

13th: Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul won their first Turkish league title since 2018 after beating Anadolu Efes in the final series 3-1.

Jan Vesely was announced as the Finals MVP.

16th: Golden State Warriors claim their fourth NBA title in 8 years after beating the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the NBA Finals series.

Stephen Curry won his first Finals MVP award.

"Forget that!" Curry said on his Finals MVP trophy. "We champs! Why are you starting with that question? We got four championships. You know God is great. The ability to be on this stage and play with amazing teammates. This one hits different."

17th: Georgios Printezis announces retirement. After winning the Greek league title on Friday, the 37-year-old officially announced that he's retiring from professional basketball.

"Thank you from my heart for everything, for the 20 years we spent together," Printezis told fans during the trophy ceremony to Olympiacos.

Olympiacos' captain joined the team back in 2002. With the exception of one season with Olympia Larissa in 2006-07 and another two with Unicaja Malaga between 2009 and 2011, he spent his entire pro career with his childhood team. 

He became the EuroLeague champion twice (2012, 2013), four Greek League titles (2012, 2015, 2016, 2022), and won bronze in EuroBasket 2009.

19th: Fenerbahce officially announced Dimitris Itoudis as their new head coach. Currently, Fenerbahce have a 10-5 record and share 1-5th places with Real Madrid, Baskonia, Monaco, and Barcelona.

19th: Real Madrid beat FC Barcelona in the ACB finals and captured the domestic title for the first time in three years.

Walter Tavares accumulated 5 points on 9-for-11 shooting, 13 rebounds, a block, and a whopping 41 PIR. He was announced as the ACB Finals MVP.

23rd: Paolo Banchero has been selected as the no. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

"I can't believe what just happened, honestly," Banchero said back then. "I never would have thought this would happen. I wanted to be in the NBA, I didn't know I would be (No. 1). This is unbelievable."

So far in his debut season, Banchero averages 20.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.

24th: Vassilis Spanoulis begins his coaching career after being announced as a new Peristeri Athens head coach on a 2-year contract. 

"I am very happy to start my career, in this new chapter of my life, with the team of Peristeri. They're a historic team with many fans following it and a tradition in basketball," said Spanoulis.

30th: Kevin Durant shook the basketball world by requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets.

However, after plenty of drama and an unsuccessful search for suitors in the trade, Durant eventually remained in Brooklyn.

He averages 29.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game, while the Nets are 3rd in the Eastern Conference with a 23-12 record.

July

1st: One of the biggest trades in the summer took place between the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Jazz traded Rudy Gobert for Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro, four first-round picks, and 2022 first-round pick Walker Kessler for Gobert.

Minnesota transferred its 2023, 2025, and 2027 picks unprotected, and a top-5 protected 2029 pick to Utah.

Gobert, 3-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, has spent his entire 9-year NBA career with the Utah Jazz. Since 2020, he has participated in three straight NBA All-Star games.

On December 20, 2020, Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension with Jazz. Gobert's extension was the third-largest contract in NBA history and the largest ever for a center. He earns $38.1 million next season.

This season Gobert averages 13.2 points, 12.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game.

13th: The Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid obtained French nationality, becoming eligible to play for France in international tournaments.

Although almost six months have passed since then, it's still unknown whether Embiid will wear Les Bleus jersey. He also obtained American citizenship in September.

27th: One of the biggest signings in European basketball took place, as Kevin Pangos officially joined Olimpia Milan.

Before moving to the NBA, Pangos was seen as one of the best guards in Europe, but his season in Europe isn't going as expected.

He's dealing with a knee injury and averages 9.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 7.5 PIR in 10 EuroLeague games.

31st: NBA legend Bill Russell passed away at the age of 88. 

Russell had the most remarkable career of any player in the history of team sports. He played in the NBA from 1956 to 1969, winning 11 titles with the Boston Celtics, which is more than any player ever in the sport.

Russell was awarded with the US highest civilian honor when the Medal of Freedom, by former President Barack Obama in 2011, was awarded to him. And in 2017, the NBA awarded him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, the NBA Finals MVP award is named after Russell.

August

1st: French basketball federation announces that it will exclude players from the national team if they sign for Russian or Belarussian clubs. All national team players signed an agreement with such conditions.

2nd: Lorenzo Brown officially joined the Spanish national team after being naturalized and given a Spanish passport.

At the time, what was a delicate and controversial topic, became a gold medal in EuroBasket 2022.

9th: After winning the NBA championship in June, Nemanja Bjelica made his return to Europe, signing for Fenerbahce.

However, the Serbian forward is yet to make his season debut, as he's been dealing with a calf injury.

11th: Bill Russell becomes the first player in NBA history to have his jersey retired across the league. None of the new NBA players will be allowed to wear the no. 6 jersey.

20th: One of the best Mexican players of all time, Gustavo Ayon, announced his retirement.

In the NBA, Ayon has played for the New Orleans Hornets, the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Atlanta Hawks, his last team in the 2013-2014 season.

"I am leaving in peace, and I feel calm because I have given basketball everything I could: passion, work, and responsibility," said the Mexican basketball legend.

Ayon played 340 official games between 2014 and 2019 with Real Madrid. He won two EuroLeague titles with the Spanish club and one Intercontinental Cup, four ACB leagues, three Spanish Cups, and two Super Cups.

September

1st: Four co-host countries -- Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, and Italy – welcomed the 41st edition of Europe's flagship basketball event, FIBA EuroBasket 2022.

The tournament returned after a five-year break and featured 24 teams with some of the best players in the world, including Nikola Jokic (Serbia), Luka Doncic (Slovenia), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece).

Dirk Nowitzki's No. 14 German national team jersey retirement ceremony was the highlight on the opening day of EuroBasket 2022. Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks representatives flew to Germany to support Nowitzki on a special evening in Cologne.

4th: European giant -- Turkey -- threatened to leave EuroBasket 2022 following the events in the game against Georgia.

Furkan Korkmaz and Duda Sanadze got involved in the scuffle after Georgian's foul on the Philadelphia 76ers forward. Both players were disqualified, while Korkmaz was later attacked in the tunnel by three Georgian players -- Tornike Shengelia, Goga Bitadze, and Sanadze -- and security guards after he left the court.

Turkish basketball federation vice-president Omer Onan claimed that Turkey would leave EuroBasket if the required footage won't be provided.

"If the security camera footage doesn't come to us, we will leave the tournament," Onan said in an official statement.

14th: EuroLeague started a new chapter with the new management at the helm of the organization. Legendary Serbian player Dejan Bodiroga was named the new EuroLeague president, while sports business leader Marshall Glickman took on the acting CEO position.

"We are entering a new era for EuroLeague," Bodiroga said of changes. "The past 20 years have seen Europe's premier basketball competition establish itself as a powerhouse in global sports. I'd like to thank Jordi Bertomeu and his team for their vision and hard work and look forward to continuing to build and expand the impact of EuroLeague and EuroCup."

Founder Jordi Bertomeu departed 22 years after the inception of Euroleague Basketball.

14th: Polish national team shocked the basketball world by eliminating Slovenia (90-87) and advancing to the EuroBasket semifinals.

Mateusz Ponitka stole the show in a game where Luka Doncic was supposed to be a star. Ponitka registered just the fourth triple-double in EuroBasket history. The Polish forward scored 26 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and made 10 assists for 41 PIR, breaking his personal bests in all four categories with the Polish jersey.

"I let my country down, that's on me," Doncic said after the painful defeat.

18th: Spain capped off FIBA EuroBasket 2022 with a 88-76 masterpiece performance against France to claim their fourth continental trophy following 2009, 2011, and 2015 success. They reclaimed the title from Slovenia which won it in 2017.

Germany won bronze medals at home by defeating Poland in a game for third place.

Willy Hernangomez was named the EuroBasket MVP after averaging 17.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 19.7 EFF over nine games. Willy (Spain), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Lorenzo Brown (Spain), Rudy Gobert (France), and Dennis Schroder (Germany) made the EuroBasket First Team.

21st: ACB League introduced the revolutionary inbound rule. The new rule says that the referee does not have to touch the ball for an inbound play in their own half of the court.

According to ACB, the rule was introduced to give more fluidity to the game.

"During the first 38 minutes of the match, it will not be necessary for the referees to touch the ball before an inbound for the attacking team's own courtside, and the players can put it into play immediately, without interruptions, thus facilitating a quick restart of the game and possibly more counterattacks and transitions."

25th: A battle between two Spanish giants -- FC Barcelona and Real Madrid -- opened the new European club basketball season. Los Blancos celebrated their fifth consecutive Spanish Super Cup title after beating Barca 89-83 in overtime.

Walter Tavares excelled with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks, including a crucial one on Sertac Sanli. The big man from Cape Verde won the MVP trophy.

29th: Crvena Zvezda implemented a football rule in basketball. Club fans agreed with the management not to sign Serbian players, who previously played for Partizan Belgrade.

The agreement was reached following Miroslav Raduljica's arrival at Red Star. He is going to be the last domestic player to make such a move. Raduljica previously played in Partizan during the 2011-12 season.

30th: FC Barcelona overtook Real Madrid and recorded €115.2 million combined losses for the last four seasons. Barca had a €30.0 million loss past campaign.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid closed the last season with €31.1 million in losses and had the last four years' losses combined for €102.84 million.

October

1st: Dubai sheikhs expressed their desire to form a team and compete in the EuroLeague through a wild card.

The businessmen also proposed an idea to hold the Final Four for three consecutive seasons in Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena.

3rd: The Adelaide 36ers made NBL history and became the first Australian team to win an NBA preseason game, beating the Phoenix Suns 134-124.

Adelaide became the first non-NBA team to win a preseason game on U.S. soil since Fenerbahce Istanbul beat Brooklyn Nets in October 2015 (101-96).

The NBL squad stepped into the game vs. Phoenix as 28-point underdogs.

3rd: Nick Calathes, who moved from Barcelona to Fenerbahce Istanbul past off-season, caused waves in the European basketball community with an interview with Turkish sports television S Sport.

He took a jab at his former coach Sarunas Jasikevicius with the following statements:

"As a player, you want to have some freedom. Especially, I'm not 20 years old, I know how to play," Calathes said. "I think over there it was more of a system, Saras controlled it more. I think here [at Fenerbahce] coach Itoudis gives players freedom, gives players things to do on the court but he also has a lot of confidence in you, he believes in you, he lets you control the game."

6th: EuroLeague returned for the 2022-23 season with 18 teams battling for superiority in the premier basketball tournament in Europe.

The first day of the competition featured thunderous debuts by Bonzie Colson and the Baskonia duo of Maik Kotsar and Darius Thompson.

7th: LeBron James labeled Victor Wembanyama as an "alien", Stephen Curry compared him to a video game "2K create-a-player", while Kevin Durant believed the "league is really in trouble" when the French unicorn is going to be drafted No. 1 in 2023.

The above-mentioned NBA superstars had high praise of Wembanyama following his two huge performances with 37 and 36 points, respectively, against G-League Ignite in the United States. Wemby established himself as a clear front-runner in the upcoming NBA draft with two showcase games.

7th: TMZ Sports published a viral video of Draymond Green and Jordan Poole's fight during one of the Golden State Warriors practices.

The video footage showed a violent outburst by Green. Following the punching of his teammate, Draymond was sanctioned by GSW.

10th: Dubai sheikhs offered a multi-year contract for EuroLeague that ranges from €50 million to €60 million per year.

Gazzetta.gr reported that Emirates Airlines would want their name to be written next to the organization's title: Emirates Airlines EuroLeague.

Emirates Airlines would replace Turkish Airlines which provides EuroLeague €10 million a year.

13th: Crvena Zvezda signed Argentinian guard Luca Vildoza to a two-year deal.

The 27-year-old has been chasing the NBA dream with the Milwaukee Bucks since last year. However, he had a very limited role in Milwaukee and chose to return to Europe.

Baskonia, who owned the player's rights outside the NBA, claimed that Vildoza's transfer to Red Star was unlawful but it could not prevent the Argentinian from making a huge impact on the Serbian powerhouse until this day.

19th: The 2022-23 NBA regular season, the 77th campaign of the National Basketball Association (NBA), began with two games happening on opening day.

The Golden State Warriors received their 2021-22 NBA championship rings during a special pre-game ceremony vs. Los Angeles Lakers.

21st: Dwayne Bacon found his new home in Europe. Panathinaikos Athens announced that the player signed a two-year deal.

Bacon has emerged as a prolific scorer (20.3 PPG, 1st in EuroLeague) at PAO since his arrival.

23rd: Pierria Henry reunited with Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. He became the icing on the cake for Joan Penarroya's squad which plays picture-perfect basketball and shares first place in the EuroLeague.

In the summer, Henry tried to find a place in the NBA, but shortly before the start of the 2022-23 season, he was cut from the Houston Rockets roster, which led him to the decision to come back to Europe.

26th: NBA reached an agreement to broadcast Victor Wembanyama's matches with Metropolitans 92 in the French Basketball League (LNB).

The league will also show French Cup games, playoff matches, and highlights, all available on NBA League Pass.

29th: Brooklyn Nets franchise and owner Joe Tsai condemned Kyrie Irving’s tweets that promoted an antisemitic film and book.

"I'm disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation," Tsai wrote on social media. "I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity, or religion."

Later on, Irving was suspended for five games by the team.

November

1st: French Basketball Federation's president Jean-Pierre Siutat confirmed that Thomas Heurtel will no longer be eligible to participate in any competition with French NT.

At the beginning of August, the 33-year-old guard signed a statement by which he undertook not to sign with a Russian or Belarusian club, or else he would no longer be eligible. At the time, Heurtel was in contact with Zenit Saint Petersburg after Real Madrid declined their option to extend his contract.

Signing the agreement allowed Heurtel to play in the EuroBasket with France and win a silver medal, his fourth overall. But 72 hours after the final game vs. Spain, Zenit announced the signing of the point guard who has appeared in 99 games with Les Bleus.

In an Instagram post on October 10, Heurtel had assured that he "didn't give a damn" about his signing in Russia, a country banned from world basketball since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

1st: Steve Nash was fired by the Brooklyn Nets. Seven regular season games and a negative 2-5 balance were all it took for Nash and the Nets to part ways.

Nash was 94-67 in his career as Nets coach. The reports that Kevin Durant wanted Nash fired were very public last summer, leaving some to believe that a level of animosity between the two sides would have persisted begin the year.

4th: Panathinaikos Athens sent a letter of protest to the EuroLeague organization regarding the refereeing in a Round 6 game against Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade.

The Greens informed EuroLeague that the club will not tolerate similar officiating mistakes.

PAO also proposed a change in the "coach challenge" rule and waited for a visit of EuroLeague president Dejan Bodiroga in order to discuss matters concerning the organization.

Credit Vassilis Stolis

11th: Victor Wembanyama made his official debut for the French national team against Lithuania in the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers window matchup.

The French wunderkind finished the game with 20 points on 6-for-13 shooting, making all 7 free throws, and grabbing 9 rebounds for 23 PIR.

Wembanyama emphasized that he didn't feel worried either before or during the game.

"I wasn't nervous at all. Just excited in the best way possible," Wembanyama talked about his emotions. "I was really hungry to get the win tonight. I like to mentally prepare for a couple of hours before the game. I try to do other stuff like drawing, reading, and taking a nap. So, I could give 100% mentally for 5-6 hours."

12th: It was announced that Serbian national team star Vasilije Micic will not play in the crucial 2023 FIBA World Cup European Qualifiers game against Turkey.

Anadolu Efes and Turkey national team head coach Ergin Ataman reportedly allowed Micic to join the Serbian national team camp initially, but before the upcoming game changed his decision.

Serbia (4-3) and Turkey (3-4) were direct rivals in Group I, as both teams were battling for a spot in the main tournament.

"As a club [Anadolu Efes], we were against Micic playing in the national team from the very beginning," Ataman later declared while speaking to NTV.

14th: After just one win in the first seven EuroLeague games, Crvena Zvezda decided to part ways with head coach Vladimir Jovanovic and announced his successor, Dusko Ivanovic.

Ivanovic introduced himself to Red Star with five-hour training sessions, but they were not for nothing, as the future showed. He changed the course of Zvezda's season, winning six straight games in the EuroLeague and tying Zvi Sherf for the greatest EuroLeague takeover.

14th: Micic-less Serbia made a huge step forward toward FIBA World Cup 2023 by defeating another European power Turkey at home, 77-76. With the latter win, Serbia is one victory away from qualifying for the next year's World Cup.

Meanwhile, Turkey's journey is over. The team will miss the first World Cup since 1998.

The do-or-die game got heated in the third quarter when Ergin Ataman and Svetislav Pesic were involved in a conflict on the sidelines.

17th: FC Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius sent his forward Nikola Kalinic to the locker room after an argument during the Efes-Barca game in Round 8.

Moreover, after the final buzzer, Jasikevicius came to his opponent's assistant coach Tomislav Mijatovic and got involved in an altercation.

According to BasketNews sources, the Lithuanian specialist accused the Turkish team of filming their practice sessions. "Good f****** camera," Saras allegedly told one of the Efes coaching staff members.

Efes head coach Ergin Ataman was furious about the episode in the post-game press conference.

"You know, Saras recently made a joke in his statement, 'I'm going to call Ergin Ataman to ask about Larkin's situation'. He didn't call last night but I'm waiting for an apology call from him this evening," Ataman started off. "After shaking hands with him after the game, he walked up to my assistant coaches and made a very heavy accusation that we filmed their practices on camera.

"If Saras calls me, I will say 'Saras, prove it. If you can prove this, I will resign today as the head coach of this team. But if you don't prove it, if you really can't prove it, then either you apologize for your behavior towards my assistant coaches or you resign for making such an address, or resign from the Euroleague coaches association'."

18th: It was a historic day on the international basketball front, as Spain became the new number one team in the latest FIBA Ranking, presented by Nike. With the USA holding the number one spot for over 12 years, Spain was only the second team to top the ranking since its introduction in 2010.

Spain's jump from No. 2 to the top spot resulted from their consistency in recent years in each game of each competition. Spain captured the titles at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 and the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 while also reaching the Quarter-Finals of the Tokyo Olympics. Their qualification campaigns since 2017 have also been very solid to help gain more points.

The United States of America did claim the gold at the Olympics, but they dropped out of the World Cup in the Quarter-Finals and finished third at the FIBA AmeriCup 2022.

21st: After an unsuccessful EuroBasket 2022 where Slovenia sensationally lost to Poland, the country's national team bounced back and qualified for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Luka Doncic, the biggest star of the team, won't miss the chance to play in the World Cup for the first time in his international career.

"Luka confirmed his participation a minute after the match with Germany when it was certain that we would go to the championship," Slovenian Basketball Federation's president Matej Erjavec told MMC. "If Luka is healthy, there is no fear at all."

28th: The first Serbian derby in 2022-23 between Crvena Zvezda and Partizan did not start on a good note as conflicts started before the first quarter could even finish.

With 38 seconds left in the first period, the match was interrupted. Following a call by the refereeing crew, Zvezda fans started throwing hard objects onto the court. Several measures were taken to discourage fans from continuing with even Branko Lazic taking the microphone to talk directly to the fans.

The game resumed after 30 minutes, while some fans had to leave the arena. In the end, Crvena Zvezda grabbed the principled win in the ABA League, 90-74.

30th: Darrun Hilliard clashed with Maccabi Tel Aviv, and was forced to a serve one-game suspension in the EuroLeague. The Israeli club took the decision after Hilliard's tweet following the Israeli league loss to Hapoel Jerusalem, 75-80.

"Real eyes recognize real lies," Hilliard tweeted a few hours after the game and later deleted the tweet.

Per Moses Barda of One, Maccabi head coach Oded Kattash thought this tweet was directed to him and didn't allow Hilliard to come to the practice.

December

2nd: In a loss against Bayern Munich, Lorenzo Brown set his new career-high in points in EuroLeague with 36 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds. He also recorded his new career-high in EuroLeague in terms of index rating, with a total value of 43.

8th: WNBA player Brittney Griner gets released from Russian prison after a swap of prisoners with Russia. The American player had been detained since February.

8th: Former Maccabi Tel Aviv star Nikola Vujcic gets officially inducted as a EuroLeague legend with a beautiful ceremony in Tel Aviv.

9th: Olympiacos had a stunning offensive performance in the win against Virtus Bologna and broke their club record for most points scored in a single EuroLeague game: 117

11th: In the ACB game against Gran Canaria, Baskonia point guard Markus Howard made history for his club, breaking the all-time team record for 3-pointers made in a single game with 9. He finished the game with 34 points in just 22 minutes on the court.

13th: After a close loss against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich head coach Andrea Trinchieri delivered a superb press conference in which he channeled his inner Allen Iverson and started to rant about the lack of practice of his team

15th: In the game against Zalgiris Kaunas, Real Madrid big man Walter Tavares became the all-time EuroLeague leader in blocks, overtaking Bryant Dunston

19th: Facundo Campazzo officially became a member of Crvena Zvezda, marking one of the biggest transfer news of the year. The Argentinian point guard made his return to European basketball after the end of his experience with the Dallas Mavericks.

23rd: Keenan Evans had his career high in EuroLeague against Bayern Munich with 32 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds performance.

The American guard also recorded the best scoring first-half performance in the history of Zalgiris Kaunas with 21 points (8/10 from the field), 2 assists, and 2 rebounds for a total PIR of 26.

25th: Nikola Jokic becomes the NBA player with the most points in a triple-double on Christmas Day with 41 points, 15 rebounds, and 15 assists in the overtime win against the Phoenix Suns.

27th: Luka Doncic becomes the first NBA player ever to record a triple-double with 60 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists in the overtime win against the New York Knicks.

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