For several weeks in a row, one of the most famous phrases in Lithuanian basketball history was stuck in his head. It was spoken by former national team spokesperson and commentator, Linas Kunigėlis.
And when during the official press conference Dainius Adomaitis started drawing attention by shouting, punching the table and swearing in English, it seemed clear that the time has come to repeat those words, Martynas Suslavičius writes in lrytas.lt
You must really lack love for this sport to act this way. You must only care about your ego in order to make the decisions FIBA made. And when you do that, according to the classic words spoken by L. Kunigėlis during the 2012 London Olympic games selections in Caracas, you should “f*** up”.
D. Adomaitis words, “f-ing joke” and “bl…” (bitch in Russian), are only the tip of the iceberg, which was floating closer and closer ever since the first day of the championship.
Indeed – let’s take a good look into what first happened in China.
Since the first days, there were stones of criticism flying towards FIBA’s windows with notes attached asking “what is happening in the World Championship?”
Journalists faced numerous difficulties, fans uttered many bitter words, and coaches expressed their surprise and anger.
Jonas Valančiūnas’s demand “to do something”, the addressing of D. Adomaitis’s questions to the FIBA organisation, as well as the protest written by the Lithuanian national team, became the backbone of the entire team. And, because of the war with the EuroLeague, the basketball organisation was left without the best international referees in the world.
Serbian coach Aleksandar Djordjevic laughed after the World Championship victory over the Philippines: after the first group standings, teams were boarding planes early in the morning and flying to other cities, and were due to play the following day. “Only a crazy coach would make his team train after a journey like this”, claimed A. Djordjevic.
Russian basketball player Andrey Vorontsevich, even after a win against Nigeria in 82:77, was critical of the referees: “Whistles came at the wrong time and in the wrong places. Fouls were hardly understandable. I have no good opinion about the referees, who pissed me off. Probably they do not know how basketball is played in Europe.”
Polish media shouted about a robbery after the game with China (69:70). “FIBA, this is truly nonsense. It is unjustifiable, due to a mistake in the last moment,” said Marcin Gortat, Polish basketball star.
And there are the curses from Montenegrins to the FIBA organisation and its referees.
It’s heartbreaking that this is part of the nonsense that FIBA calls the World Championship.
First, I would like to thank the ordinary Chinese people who always tried to help, who repeatedly showed the way to go and were generally very hospitable, yet their polite efforts were overshadowed by other failures. And FIBA is responsible for these failures
From absurd situations, like when a press guide says that “the internet may not work”, to the next paragraph with a request to “share impressions” from the World Championship.
From failing to organise a smooth World Championship: when basketball players and coaches were angry at amateur-level refereeing when some fans could not understand why they encountered problems in their hotels, and that journalists laughed when they could not send their material normally.
Part of the job became wrestling with China’s great firewall. After all, when you decide to give a World Championship to a country it does really matter how that country views the rest of the world.
“This is more like a huge misunderstanding than a World Championship.” It seems that for the first time, these same FIBA representatives arrived shrugging their shoulders and repeating the phrase “to us too”.
One thing did not work, another thing did not work. A rare volunteer spoke English.
Even during the run-up for the World Cup a bunch of visa problems popped up.
At first, you are sitting and waiting for the traditional invitation which you will send to the embassy. But then you get a letter saying that this invitation is not necessary, that embassies will receive these directly. When you go to the embassy you discover that no letter has been received, and so you just sit and wait for the last few days.
Soon you receive a call from the Chinese embassy in Lithuania that you are already on the list. You get a visa. While in your email a special invitation appears, which was not even supposed to appear, and in it are documents from other media outlets.
If one would start counting the number of all these absurd situations, you would get a sizeable result.
Yet if some of the fans and a fair amount of journalists who arrived had problems but were able to survive even with those, then for the basketball players this nonsense was, as D. Adomaitis said, catastrophic.
If you actually do not care about your job, then you don’t care, but affecting those who are investing their time in national teams is truly unfair.
If one looked at the referees that were working during the Australia and Lithuania, or Lithuania and France games, you felt truly uncomfortable.
Why the hell would NBA and EuroLeague level basketball players go to the World Championship if the referees cannot hold their weight?
FIBA ambitions cost Lithuanian basketball a lot.
The window system for qualifying for the World Cup was a real punch in the face for a basketball country. With all due respect to each country, was it really necessary for Lithuania to play with Kosovo? What did basketball bring to a smoky hall?
D. Adomaitis and the team overcame the selection quite easily and simply, yet in the meantime, viewership ratings were going down.
Lithuania’s national team fans did not want to look at a team without its best players. Not because the team was poor, but because the principle itself was destroyed. After all, how happy were the strongest players, who arrived this summer to “Vanagupė” hotel and had been missing traditional summer training camp?
FIBA tortured the best national teams, reminding us once more that it is a clumsy organisation unable to change and compromise.
The war with the EuroLeague is destroying what FIBA itself created— basketball. Imagine how the refereeing level would change if the best referees from the EuroLeague worked here.
What would a different qualifying tournament look like with a comfortable schedule, and if EuroLeague basketball players came there as well?
But when you are trying to show how big and serious you are, you spit in the face of all these fundamental principles.
Where famous ones are surprised at who would have created a system in which basketball players can not even take a rest.
Where you can admit when referees made a costly and ridiculous mistake, yet you cannot do anything about it and just wish the Lithuanian national team a nice trip home.
Where more and more big clubs will start thinking if it is worth letting their players go to a place where they are not even taken care of properly.
Where the biggest stars in the world start saying “no”.
Where, when you lose authority in Europe, you try to stay powerful in South America, Africa and Asia.
Where you cannot admit having made administrative mistakes and start blaming China, even though everyone knows that it was better to start preparing for a championship in this kind of country much earlier and more seriously.
Where you understand, that FIBA drowns national basketball as if it were intentional.
One can only agree not only with D. Adomaitis’s swearing during the press conference but also with a very accurate observation: a World Championship without Lithuanian national team fans will definitely be different.