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Muresan joyous at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 Host Announcement
MUNICH (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - At approximately 12:30pm on Saturday afternoon, an audible cheer reverberated around the hallways of the typically austere Bayerischer Hof in Munich, courtesy of one of the biggest men to ever step on a basketball court.
The storied Munich hotel has opened its doors to no shortage of celebrities and Bavarian guests of state throughout its 164-year history, but it is fair to say very few have provided the same physical appearance as the 2.31m Gheorghe Muresan. The former NBA player and Romanian international was in the southern German city as part of Romania's official bid to host a Group Phase group of FIBA EuroBasket 2017.
When FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel held aloft a placard with the single word Romania, confirming they would play a part in hosting Europe's premier tournament for the first time in history, there was no one in the room as visibly emotional as Muresan.
FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel had the honour of announcing Romania as one of the four FIBA EuroBasket 2017 host nations
The six-season NBA center threw his fist skywards and let out a cheer of approval before offering a hearty round of high-fives and back-slaps to his fellow bid members, showing just how much the announcement meant to Romania's most famous basketball son.
This is the biggest event in Romanian basketball history, For a new generation of basketball players this is going to be huge. We are very proud we got this one and we will put on the best event ever made in basketball - Muresan
"This is the biggest event in Romanian basketball history," a still buzzing Muresan told FIBA.com moments after the announcement. "For a new generation of basketball players this is going to be huge. We are very proud we got this one and we will put on the best event ever made in basketball."
There was however only the slightest tinge of sadness when he mused over what it would have been like to have such an opportunity during his active playing days.
"My dream was to play EuroBasket at home, but I am still so happy to see that Romania has the chance to host now," said the 44-year-old.
Despite now being based in Washington, where he spent the four most successful of his six NBA seasons, Muresan offered a solitary and defiant "yes" when posed with the question if he would be on hand when the action tips off in Cluj-Napoca.
Romania will co-host the event with Finland, Israel and Turkey, the latter of the three also having the additional responsibility of organising the Final Phase.