By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Anadolu Efes and Shane Larkin are ahead of a challenge to accomplish something that only two teams have done before them this century: Becoming back-to-back EuroLeague champions.
Only Maccabi Tel Aviv (2004, 2005) and Olympiacos Piraeus (2012, 2013) – that happens to be Efes‘ opponent in the 2022 semifinal – have won consecutive EuroLeague titles in the modern era of the competition. Larkin believes that if he and his teammates manage to join the club, their team will become the stuff of legend.
“We are a veteran team,” Larkin said. “We know exactly what we need to do in order to win, in order to compete. We want to sweep the board. We won the Turkish league the last few years and we won the EuroLeague last year. So we pretty much won everything that we can. But being able to put it all together in one season will be big for us. If we can accomplish that, I think we’ll go down as one of the best teams in European history.”
Efes went through various ups and downs this season before advancing to the Final Four. They had the worst start ever by a defending champion with a 2 – 6 record but went on and picked up the pace to get to the playoffs. Then they eliminated Olimpia Milano 3-1 despite lacking the homecourt advantage.
“Everybody in the locker room trusts each other,” Larkin said. “We are all brothers. Some of us fight sometimes but that’s good. Sometimes the fight between each other means you care, it means you still have that ambition. It’s good… being together, having that family atmosphere, fighting for each other, playing for each other is what has helped us be successful over the years.”