As basketball fans know FIBA Europe postponed Basketball 2021 European Championship from September 2021 to September 2022 due to the pandemic. The matches of the group stage of the European Championship 2022 will be held in four countries Germany (Berlin, Cologne), Italy (Milan), Czech Republic (Prague), and Georgia (Tbilisi)— but the final round matches of the European Championship in Berlin.
Being one of the host cities of the upcoming matches of the European Championship group stage was decided to build a basketball arena with a capacity of ten thousand spectators, since 2019 and is nearing the construction completion in Tbilisi. The arena will correspond to the most modern international standards. To get acquainted with the construction of the arena, the executive director of this organization, the former Czech basketball player Kamil Novak, visited Tbilisi last week.
According to the Georgian Basketball Federation (GBF), “the members of the FIBA Europe delegation got acquainted with the progress of construction of a new basketball arena in Tbilisi and made recommendations, the implementation of which will allow the new arena to meet the highest international standards.”
The members of the FIBA Europe delegation held meetings with the President of the GBF – Paata Guraspauli, Soso Giorgadze – the Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Youth Affairs of Georgia, and with the heads of the construction organizations building the arena in Tbilisi. In an interview with journalists, Soso Giorgadze noted, that “the arena with the capacity of ten thousand spectators will meet international standards, the arena will allow Georgia to host representative international tournaments, which will contribute to the development of sports.”
K. Novak emphasized, “despite the period of the pandemic, the construction of the new arena in Tbilisi is proceeding at a good pace, and I will mention this at the meeting of FIBA Europe”. He’d indicated “We previously watched the progress of the construction of the arena online, but now we have carried out monitoring on the spot and are very satisfied, it will be a fantastic arena.”
P. Guraspauli echoed the statements of the delegation and noted, “the construction of the arena is being carried out according to the schedule, in November 2021 it will be put into operation and in February 2022 the matches of the qualifying stage of the Basketball World Cup 2023 will be held in this Palace (arena).”
At the construction site of the new arena, I had the opportunity to talk with K. Novak for 5 minutes. The conversation began with memories of the period of Novak’s basketball career and a discussion of today’s basketball. Later on, I moved on to the topic, which actually brought me to this meeting with him – I acquainted him with my idea of introducing four-point shots. I noted that a number of famous basketball players from different countries supported this idea. One of the supporters of this idea is the famous basketball player of the Tbilisi “Dynamo”, the national teams of the USSR and Georgia, the world champion in 1982, the European champion in 1981, and the bronze medalist of the 1980 Olympic Games Nikoloz Deriugin. Another supporter was Levan Moseshvili (1940-2020), the outstanding basketball player of the Tbilisi “Dynamo” and USSR team, vice-champion of 1964 Olympic Games, winner of the European Champions Cup in 1962, Honored Coach of Georgia and the USSR.
“It is high time to innovate in basketball,” I stressed in conversation with Kamil Novak. Moreover, I noted, that along with three-pointers there should be four-point shots—such should be considered shots from outside the special line, which should be about three meters further than the three-point zones. I told, “there will, of course, be opponents of four-point shots, but it’s time to start a discussion on this topic.” The introduction of the four-pointers should indeed be gradual, as I also shared this with K. Novak. First, we can experiment with youth, student tournaments, and championships in a number of countries and introduce a system of four-point shots. If the four-pointers prove to be successfully implemented, then the innovation can continue on a European level and around the world.” K. Novak listened to me attentively, but, naturally, he did not respond to this proposal immediately, diplomatic noting that each idea may have its pros and cons and all the pros and cons must be considered before any decision is taken.
It should be also considered, that the three-point shot entered basketball in the early 1960s—first appearing in the rules of the American Basketball League, then adopted by the Eastern Professional Basketball League, and by the American Basketball Association since 1968. In the 1979-80 season, the three-point rule was adopted in the NBA as well. And FIBA approved three-point shots in 1984. Since then, this rule has been applied throughout the basketball world. In the early 1980s, as a young journalist, wherever I could, I fixed my position in support of three-pointers, sending letters to the editors of various newspapers and magazines, addressing the coaches and basketball figures with whom I had a chance to meet in those years. Some told me “Tengiz, take your time, this time will come”, others said phrases like “Why adopt what is cultivated in the NBA”, etc.
And this is not surprising: after all, in the 1970-1980s, there were many opponents of the introduction of three-pointers. Although after the introduction of this innovation, the overwhelming majority of experts admitted that three-pointers significantly diversified the game and gave a new impetus to the development of basketball. The time shall decide, however, I strongly believe that in a couple of years the four-point will be implemented on stages. At the first stage, we can do it on youth, student tournaments, and championships in a number of countries and later on International tournaments, World Championships and Europe Championships, Olympic Games as well. Introducing four-point shots with saving the real rules (1, 2, and 3 points) provides extra intrigue to the game and will make the basketball more spectacular.