Those are players who have carried Romanian basketball on their shoulders for the last two decades, at the highest level, whether they were playing for the national team or at club level. Virgil Stănescu is the most iconic Romanian basketball player since 1989, having put together good seasons in the most powerful European championships and served as captain for the national team for almost two decades. Paul Helcioiu, winner of the FIBA Eurochallenge Cup back in 2005 with Asesoft Ploiești, was also a key-player for Romania’s national team. Mihai Paul won several times the elite 5×5 basketball national title and was the captain of Steaua CSM EximBank in the team’s resurgent years. Those three stars are joined by a young 23-year-old player from Timișoara, Alin Zaharie, who drew everyone’s attention in Timişoara Streetball, a stop in the 3×3 Sport Arena Streetball national tour. He is curently playing the 5×5 basketball National League in Romania, for BCM Piteşti.
Star player: Virgil Stănescu
There’s no easy way to make a few-words presentation for one of Romania’s most representative basketball players. Sticking to 3×3 only, Stănescu has been a close friend of Sport Arena Streetball ever since the beginning. And when his professional career approached the end, he saw in 3×3 basketball a new way to nourish and demonstrate his competitive spirit. In 2015, he reached the semifinals at Raiffeisen Bank Bucharest Challenger with the Make-A-Wish team and now certainly targets a better finish for this year’s edition.
Even though they have never played in this formula at Raiffeisen Bank Bucharest Challenger and Mihai Paul is actually making a debut in FIBA Endorsed 3×3 competitions, those players’ high-class pedigree, their basketball background and huge experience will prove helpful in some very strong matchups. Bucharest Legends will have one fiery match after another, in a group that also features world champion Novi Sad Al Wahda – led by world number one Dušan Bulut, France’s Ballistik and Russia’s Piter BM-18.
And if American fans filled some of the world’s biggest arenas during the summer to watch NBA legends in the 3×3 “Big 3” league, newly-launched by rap icon Ice Cube and Allen Iverson, it certainly is worth coming to University Square to watch the three legendary Romanian players.