Pasado mañana es Nochebuena, y en estos momentos de celebraciones de Navidad, me viene al recuerdo el TORNEO DE NAVIDAD de la Sección de Baloncesto del MADRID, que durante muchos años, fue todo un acontecimiento en la Navidad de los madridistas.

Ya hemos hablado alguna vez de este Torneo, pero hay que seguir recordando el mismo, para que los más jóvenes que no lo han vivido, lo puedan conocer, y los más veteranos, no lo olvidemos.

Se trataba de un Torneo Internacional,​ conocido como Torneo de Navidad, a nivel de clubes (y algunas ediciones con selecciones nacionales), organizada por la FIBA en sus primeras décadas, ideado por  RAIMUNDO SAPORTA. Las cenas de nochebuena, venían precedidas del partido correspondiente, y al día siguiente, teníamos la Final.

Hubo momentos históricos como el año 1984, donde vinieron a participar la URSS y YUGOSLAVIA. El equipo ruso de la URSS, era uno de los combinados habituales en el Torneo de Navidad, con Tachenko a la cabeza. Y ese año vino al Torneo un joven ARVIDAS SABONIS con solo 23 años. En aquel equipo jugaban jugadores de la talla de Iovaisha, Tachenko, Homicius, Belosteny, Kurtinaitis, Valters o Tarakanov, además del joven SABONIS, que acabó rompiendo un tablero.

O el año que jugamos contra la Universidad de NORTH CAROLINA, que por aquel entonces fue el primer equipo extranjero en llevarse el trofeo y lo hizo de la mano de hasta diez jugadores que terminaron en la NBA. Desde el número dos del draft de 1972, Bob McAdoo, hasta el que fuera entrenador posteriormente del Real Madrid, George Karl.

Momentos del Torneo de Navidad

Grandes equipos, grandes selecciones, y grandes jugadores venían cada año al TORNEO DE NAVIDAD DEL MADRID.

Una fiesta en al antiguó Pabellón de la Ciudad Deportiva, con aficionados con gorros de Papá Noel y cantando villancicos, además de que era un evento que se televisaba por TVE.

Ahora tenemos la EUROLIGA, pero no es lo mismo. Que nostalgia esos recuerdos del TORNEO DE NAVIDAD.


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