Eurobasket.com is the largest website in the world that exclusively reports on overseas basketball. Most people have never heard of it, but it is required viewing for anyone playing abroad. It actually does a decent job of aggregating the scores and stats from leagues all over the world, but it does so using the ugliest, clunkiest website known to man.
The site is, quite frankly, hard to look at. The layout is hopelessly cluttered, there is no intuitive way to locate old posts, and it is chock full of obnoxious advertisements. Also, the main page is extra awkward because they shoehorn video clips into the middle of the headlines.
One of the front page video clips you can access is a 2 minute highlight of Yugoslavia vs South Korea from the 1996 Olympic games. It has 5 views on youtube, and I think I account for 3 of them.
Timely! At least can’t accuse them of chasing trends.
Then there is the writing. Apparently someone at Eurobasket decided that it was not enough to simply compile scores and stats. They thought it would drive more traffic if they wrote up little game summaries, a la the AP.
But their idea of a summary is to simply announce who won the game, name the top scorers, and say who the teams are playing against in the following week. I suppose that is all you really need, but for some reason the bland, repetitive nature of them has always driven me crazy. As far as I can tell they use the same stock template for every summary, in every league, every year.
Why even bother?! We can see the box score right below! You are verbalizing a box score in broken English! That is not a summary!
Here are the last few sentences of three recent Israeli league games:
That is some compelling, unique reporting.
They also do little weekly roundups of who the top 10 performers are in each league. These writeups are, of course, painful to read. Putting aside the butchered use of my mother tongue, the articles feature no analysis, no opinion, and no attempt to put any of the performances into context. It almost always ends up being a top 10 countdown of who scored the most points.
The player ranked 7th on their “top performing players” list for this past week had 15 points, 10 boards, and one assist. His team lost. The player ranked 10th had 13, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in a huge win. It’s not all about points! Where is the outrage?!
I guess the real question is why I even waste my time reading all this when I know they aren’t going to change. I guess I am a eurobasket masochist.
The site also features player blogs written by people from all over the world. On it’s face, this is a great idea. It should be a cool way to get a taste of what it is like to experience different cultures from unique perspectives.
Sadly, it fails on all of those fronts. Just as with the game summaries, the blogs are about as exciting as trimming your lawn with nail clippers.
They all hit a few key points, spout some clichés, and then wrap it up. They provide no more insight than what you could find in a 10 second Google search for “Czech Republic.” Here is my generic Eurobasket player blog:
“Breakfast is different here. Lunch is different here too. Also, if you can believe it, dinner is different here too. I like steak and they gave me something I thought was steak but then I ate it and knew it wasn’t steak. Turns out it was tongue!!!!! The city is so beautiful. I had 20 points last game and we won but we gotta keep it up. There are so many good teams in this league and you never know who is going to bring 110% effort every night. The people are so nice. I love playstation. It gets so cold here! My Yankees are playing tonight and I hope they win. I like the world series. I used to play baseball but then I chose basketball and I am glad I did. I love life!!! See you guys next week!”
But, there is always a silver lining. Just when I had given up hope of finding something on the site that would keep my interest, I stumbled on Dwight Coleman, AKA Sweet Milk. He is a forward in the Swedish League with an amazing, inscrutable, nickname. He gives his posts names like “The Man With The Golden Wrist!!!” and “Triple Decker Sweet Milk Sandwich!!!”
During a post titled “Power of the Positive!!!” he dropped this mind bender: “When positives are accentuated but not exaggerated it allows for the future happenstance of recall of the positive to be brought into fruition today.”
Yes! That’s what I’m talking about, Sweet Milk! People want crazy thoughts that demand to be read 4 times and might be about time travel. Punctuation is for suckers. Give me that any day over a description of the weak-ass potato dumplings you had for lunch.
So, while Eurobasket does a serviceable job of keeping a record of every box score in international basketball, they could be so much more. Some intrepid young web designer needs to step up to the plate and make an awesome basketball site for the overseas crowd. I would try, but I’m too busy re-reading Sweet Milk’s blogs trying to glean some insight into the true meaning of life.