Ergin Ataman: After the EuroLeague, maybe there will be a trophy opportunity in the NBA
Anadolu Efes head coach Ergin Ataman, who won the championship by beating Barcelona in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four, said that the cup has a story beyond a European championship and they want to take this trophy to Anıtkabir first. Ataman stated that if he fulfills his goal of winning the EuroLeague 3 seasons in a row, maybe he will get an offer to experience the joy of a trophy in the NBA.
Anadolu Efes head coach Ergin Ataman, who won a historic championship by beating Barcelona in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four, told the story of the championship. Ergin Ataman touched on important details in a special interview he gave on NTV screens.
Stating that they have completed an unfinished story, Ataman said, “This incoming cup has a story for us beyond the European championship. When I came to Anadolu Efes in the middle of the season in 2017-18, Anadolu Efes was in the last place. We went to a restructuring. We made it to the finals in the EuroLeague that year. It was a very important event in the history of sports. Going from the last place to the final all of a sudden… We should have won that final when we were going to the final, but we couldn’t. But we put our mind to it. We started the next season with the aim of winning that championship “We had a great season. While all of Europe is talking about us, the authorities were nominated as the biggest candidate for the championship, while all other leagues were completed in the summer months, but the EuroLeague organization was canceled. You work so hard but it is not played and it is a big disappointment. This season is a serious motivation for me.” With the injustice done to us last season… But step by step It became a historical event for us. Events have come and gone, but we found ourselves in the Final Four again. We made mistakes again against CSKA in the Final Four, but we won. Frankly, we couldn’t lose now that he was in the final,” he said.
Stating that they could not come to the ceremony with the big EuroLeague trophy because it is in their museum and they wanted to take it to Anıtkabir first, Ataman said, “The EuroLeague trophy is in our museum. I hope we would like to take it to Anıtkabir first. We want to present it to our President as well.”
‘We did not form a team with star players’
Referring to the establishment process of the squad and the organization leading to the championship afterwards, the experienced coach said, “We established this squad and there was only one player who went in and out of the main squad. We only changed one position. This year’s squad was the same as last year. We did not give millions of dollars and form a team with star players. “If all the players you recruited become stars, the puzzle is not complete. We looked for names that could put their egos aside as characters. Then of course, we developed these players. Of course, we have a very valuable technical staff, not just me. We have a club behind us that we can organize all kinds of. There is respect. European basketball’s Anatolian basketball.” He has respect for the investment he made in Efes. There is also respect as a game. I say, ‘If we were in the NBA, we would play the Play-Offs.’ There is a message when saying this. There are some truths. The fact that the EuroLeague has now reached the level of the NBA in technical terms NBA teams haven’t played with European teams for the last two seasons, because European teams are trying to beat. it started now. Both in the USA and here… They thought that the brand value of the NBA would not decrease. All these have created great strength in us both technically and mentally. We played 40 matches until we reached the final. Final match is our 41st match. Most of the teams we play for are European top teams. As a result, it was very important for us to get that trophy in the 41st game. We saw that you, as much as we, Turkey believed in this story. It was very good for our country that we crowned the end of this with a trophy.”
Stating that he was comfortable before the final match, Ataman said, “When I talk to the family, the president and the press before the final match, everyone is very excited. They can’t sleep at night or something, but I had a relief. If I’m comfortable and I can sleep for 1-2 hours after lunch on the match day, then I’m very excited for the match. I can come out vigorous and determined. I slept that day, but I couldn’t sleep in the 2019 final. I was also very excited, nervous in 2019. I was relaxed this time. I was so confident in ending this story with the trophy… You won’t think about the end of the match when you get there. If you think about it, you will do your job. “You can’t.
NBA after 3 championships in a row!
Stating that an NBA opportunity may arise if they continue their championship with Anadolu Efes in EuroLeague, the successful coach said, “There was no yesterday in sports. Today, yes, we celebrate, but the season is not over yet. We have the Turkish League Play-Off Final Series ahead of us. It is also possible to become a champion again next season. will be a goal. We want the EuroLeague trophy again. European coaches are not offered any kind of offer from the NBA. Maybe if I can become the EuroLeague champion 3 seasons in a row and achieve this, maybe an opportunity will come that will give us the chance to win the trophy in the NBA. “We will try to continue with trophies at the club level. We will aim to win the EuroLeague trophy in the next two seasons,” he said.
Noting that the breaking point during the season could be the CSKA Moscow match, as Micic stated, Ataman said, “The players’ opinions are very important. The breaking moment was the 35-point defeat at CSKA Moscow’s away game, yes, but it was broken. If we couldn’t pick it up from there, the 3-year effort was about to go away. After the game that evening. We had a meeting until 2 am. At that meeting, everyone poured the stones under their skirts. Each player talked for about 15-20 minutes. I listened to them. After that, it was 2 am and I said, ‘I’m going out, you go on.’ It was very important that they agreed among themselves. They talked until 3:30 at night. All the stones were poured out and an incredible transformation started after that. Then the Fenerbahce match, which we won differently in Istanbul, gave us self-confidence. Then we beat Barcelona away. Then the machine was turned on and we didn’t stop.”