Big party in Warsaw. There hasn’t been such a hunger for basketball in years

The halls filled to the last place, fierce competition and spectacular action that may decide the title. The first matches of the Polish men’s basketball championship brought a lot of emotions. Unfortunately, they were not always positive.

Maciej Siemiitkowski

Legia Warsaw fans

PAP / Leszek Szymański / In the photo: Legia Warsaw fans

The ongoing finals of the Energa Basket League are sure to go down in history. Long ago, in the battle for the championship, there were no two such great and at the same time rebuilding teams like WKS Śląsk Wrocław and Legia Warszawa. The first four final matches showed the appetite for high-level basketball in Poland and the fans’ desire for success. Everyone looked at the complete set of viewers.

The first two meetings in Wrocław were held in Hala Stulecia (five and a half thousand seats) and Hala Orbita (three thousand seats). There were no equally good conditions in Warsaw. The capital welcomed basketball players to the hall in Bemowo, which could accommodate 1,500 fans. It burst at the seams during both games. And it didn’t matter whether the basketball players played on Sunday or Tuesday.

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The last clashes between Legia and Silesia in Warsaw attracted a large number of fans. All the seats in the stands were occupied and some of the fans watched the games standing or sat on the steps between the seats in the stands. The vast majority of them wear club t-shirts with the slogan “Rebirth of power” or with the name Łukasz Koszarek on the back, the biggest star. With the successes of Legia, basketball turned out to be attractive again in the city.

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Legia dominated Poland in the 50s and 60s. However, recent years have seen a difficult return to the elite. Only in 2017 she returned to the premier league in Poland and now she is starting to push her and fight for medals. Silver is already guaranteed, but there are ambitions for gold in Warsaw. The final attracted hundreds of people of all ages. They cheered their team to the last siren and the tone was set by the most fiery group behind the basket.

It made a great impression on the team. After both games, coach Wojciech Kamiński spoke of a great atmosphere. – It was very loud. It was the best of the whole season – Jure Skifić added.

The guest players also turned away from this. – The atmosphere was great. It was so loud it was sometimes difficult to communicate in defense – Travis Trice told us right after the game. He was the hero of Silesia in matches number three and four. And the decisive throw in three 40 seconds from the end may turn out to be one of the most important moments of the entire competition. He gave the team from Wrocław a victory on Tuesday.

It ruined the fun

However, both matches in Warsaw were such that Legia and Silesia battled for the win until the very end. No one managed to have long moments of domination. It was clear that the stakes were huge. And while Sunday was at a good level, Tuesday was more chaos and the players made more mistakes.

This didn’t stop the fans from cheering. In the closing seconds of the fourth game, the room was full of emotions. There were alternating screams of excitement and moans of disappointment. Everyone stood looking at the point. The turnout would probably be much higher if there were a bigger hall in Warsaw. While there is still a 5,000-strong Torwar subordinate to the Ministry of Sports, it is usually filled with trade shows or concerts. At the end, Legia stayed in the hall that had been converted into a military hangar in the 1980s.

There was spectacular cheering, big flags during Sunday’s game and a huge disappointment at the end of the fourth game. After the first game in Warsaw, however, a decision was made that left a strong impression on everyone who saw the game on TV on Tuesday. Polsat gave up the elaborate setting of the match, there were no commentators and reporters in the room. Agnieszka Łapacz, a journalist from the station, said on Twitter that this was due to the security problems of the editors and operators. On Sunday, the Legia’s loyal fans attacked the cameraman who was working on their booth.

Legia and Silesia compete for the Polish championship
Legia and Silesia compete for the Polish championship

The effective cheers over the weekend sometimes turned into a feast of insults. Warsaw’s president Rafał Trzaskowski and Silesia’s former owner and supporter Grzegorz Schetyna took their toll on the match. Fortunately, there was less unfriendliness on Tuesday.

Now the league returns to Wrocław. On Friday, the championship can be decided in the Centennial Hall. After successful performances in the capital, Silesia leads 3:1 and is only one gold medal win. It is certain that – just like in previous matches – the arena will fill up again. All tickets were sold out on Wednesday morning.

Maciej Siemiątkowski, journalist from WP SportoweFakty

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