Tweet of the Day: NBA Athletes Talk About FIFA’s Top Footballer

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Monday brought with it the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2013 Award Ceremony, where the world’s greatest football (soccer) player is honored.

No different than the rest of the world, many NBA players are avid soccer fans. Prior to the award being announced a couple took to Twitter to express their anticipation for the award’s announcement. Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol seemed exuberant about the closeness of the competition for FIFA’s top honor.

New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca gave some pre-award analysis (in French, of course).

CR7 à fais une vrai saison à surpasser tt le monde niveau but et le ballon d’or n’est pas scandaleux mais Ribery as accompli des titres — Alexis Ajinça (@AjincaAlexis42) January 13, 2014

Ajinca seems to have been hoping his native French footballer, Franck Ribery, would win the award. He compared Ribery and Ronaldo’s seasons, suggesting that while Ronaldo had a great individual season, it wasn’t as accomplished as Ribery’s—as he won three titles last year [the 2013 UEFA Champions League, the 2013 UEFA Super Cup and the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup].

In addition to those three championships, Ribery also won numerous individual awards among which included the UEFA Champions League Best Player, UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, UEFA Super Cup Man of the Match, the Bundesliga Player Of The Year, FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball and the FIFA Club World Cup Most Valuable Player.

The Ballon d’Or was then announced. Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo received the award (commonly referred to as the Golden Ball) for the second time in his illustrious career.

After the announcement, a couple players expressed their surprise (and, perhaps, displeasure) with the choice.

The Portland Trail Blazers guard essentially said that Ribery—second runner-up to Ronaldo and first runner-up Lionel Messi—had a big season even though he missed considerable time due to a rib injury. He did, however, congratulate Ronaldo.

Miami Heat star shooting guard Dwyane Wade also congratulated Ronaldo on the accomplishment.

 

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Tweet of the Day: EuroBasket Quarters Produce Great Friday Semis Matchup

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The quarterfinal round of EuroBasket ’13 began Wednesday.

With only six available spaces for the 2014 World Cup, seven of the remaining eight teams are battling it out to make it to the Spain next year.

Miami Heat championship parade nearly catastrophic

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As with most any sports championship, the victor is often treated to a parade in their home city.

Some parades have ended famously in tale of tragedy, such as the incident wherein the Copa del Rey trophy was crush by Real Madrid’s tour bus during their La Liga championship parade in 2011.

The Miami Heat could have lost something much more valuable.

It would seem that the city streets of Miami have a lot of low hanging overpasses. However, the overpass in the video was a pretty common height, clearly labeled as 14’6″. When you factor in the height of the bus, then add the height of the players standing on the open-top roof, the potential risk escalates.

Just as recently as nearly seven months ago, in December of 2012, an 11-foot tall charter bus crashed into a low overpass at the Miami International Airport. While that incident was the driver’s fault — having taken a wrong turn and ignoring multiple warning signs before the crash, had something gone wrong during the Heat’s parade, a lot of blame would be given to a lot of parties.

There aren’t too many people in the city of Miami, much less America, that would let the bus driver, his bus company, or the Miami Heat team organization off the hook if the two-time NBA Finals and four-time league MVP LeBron James were severely injured in collision with an overpass.

Fortunately, nothing went wrong, the Heat’s celebratory parade ended without incident and the league still has its most valuable player.

 

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Gibson: Euroleague Final Four Preview

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Euroleague bannerThe Euroleague Final Four is this weekend in London, with the semifinals Friday and the championship on Sunday. We have a ‘classico’ in Game 1 with Real Madrid playing Barcelona, and we have a classic in the second game with perennial powerhouse CSKA Moscow facing defending champion Olympiacos.

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Euroleague Final Four Preview

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Dimitris Diamantidis, PanathinaikosThough it’s trumpeted as a launchpad for great big shiny heroics, playoff basketball’s cruel truth is that the no-shows have a particular, formative role to play in the maturation–or atrophy–of each series, as well.

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