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FIBA EuroBasket Trophy Tour visits the city of its namesake
MOSCOW (FIBA EuroBasket 2017 Trophy Tour) - Russia's capital city Moscow - the home of Nikolai Semashko - provided the backdrop for the latest stopover on the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 Trophy Tour.
It was a fitting place for the Trophy Tour to visit, with Nikolai Semashko, after whom the trophy is named, living his life in Moscow. Semashko (1907-1976) was the former head of the Soviet State Sports Committee who served as the Vice-President of FIBA from 1960 until 1976 and President of the Standing Conference of Europe (later FIBA Europe) from 1967 until 1976.
Apart from taking in Moscow's iconic locations, such as the Red Square, the trophy was present at ExpoBasket, Moscow's biggest 3x3 basketball event. The event attracted no shortage of basketball fans and personalities, including former national team player Nikita Morgunov.
"People come and try to touch the trophy but we will keep them out of touching distance," laughed Morgunov, before continuing on a more serious note: "The appearance of the trophy motivates you to work hard. Maybe it's similar to what happened to me when I came to the [Russian] national team.
"Prior to FIBA EuroBasket 2007, an ice hockey player came with the Stanley Cup to our training camp. It was like a symbol for us to touch it, to be with the cup and to stay close to a champion. He told us what you need to do to win such a cup. I think it's a great idea to bring trophy to every participating country."
Morgunov was a member of the 2007 Russian side that won EuroBasket.
"To win a EuroBasket is something special and when you play for the national team you think this is the highest point in your career," enthused the power forward. "If you play year-in, year-out for a national team, you start to think of higher goals, other than just making the team. You try to reach the best places and if you win a gold medal it's unbelievable. You have no words to explain how cool and great it is."
Following a short break, the FIBA EuroBasket 2017 Trophy Tour picks up again in Prague from August 6-8.