By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
ANTWERP — Two-time NBA champion Mario Chalmers came to Europe for the first time in his career this season. He signed with historic Italian club club Virtus Bologna and embarked on a campaign that found him playing in the Basketball Champions League.
Chalmers didn’t just participate. He won the whole thing. Actually, in the Basketball Champions League final vs. Iberostar Tenerife he hit a key mid-range jumper with the score 65 – 59 and 1:13 remaining to thwart the opponents’ comeback attempt from 18 points down, secure his team’s safe lead and, eventually, the victory (73 – 61) that led to the title.
It was Bologna’s first continental title since the 2009 Eurochallenge. And it bore Chalmer’s signature.
“I did what I could to help the team,” Chalmers told reporters after the match. “They let me get to my spot and knock the shot down.”
When Eurohoops asked Chalmers if he got any messages of support from his old teammates, especially those of his Miami Heat championship team, Chalmers replied the following with a smile: “Definitely, I got a lot of messages. Ray Allen hit me up. Dwyane Wade hit me up. They knew I was going down for this championship”. It shows we have a brotherhood. A bond beyond basketball. We support each other wherever we go. It meant a lot to hear from those guys”.
In the 19: 02 he spent on the court, Chalmers had eight points with 3/8 shots and 2/4 from the line, plus two assists and two rebounds. What matters though was that he drained what was possibly the most important bucket in the match.
Chalmers, a player with two NBA rings in his resume, treasures winning the Basketball Champions League. For reasons that transcend basketball. “It means a lot to me actually. Coming back from Achilles tear and being what I’ve been through battling injuries. Having this organization taking a chance at me and bringing me here? A dream come true. A blessing”.