PROFILE - Ergin Ataman: Tactician who steered Anadolu Efes to big EuroLeague win
Ataman led Turkish basketball club to win back-to-back EuroLeague titles
The name of Anadolu Efes head coach Ergin Ataman, who remains the only Turkish manager to bring Turkiye a major European basketball title, was written in letters of gold in sports history.
Marking the third time a Turkish club lifted the trophy, Efes became the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champions after beating Real Madrid in Saturday's final.
This was the second time in a row that Efes finished the top-tier European league on top.
"It’s nice to be an outsider," Ataman told a post-game press conference, adding that he was an "outsider" because he is from Turkiye.
Nobody from that country had been able to achieve these results before, Ataman said after the final game. "I enjoy this job, I am a different kind of person. I enjoy coaching, I enjoy press conferences, interviews."
The 56-year-old won 23 titles, including five European trophies, during his 26-year managerial career.
Ataman, who joined Efes in 2017, led them to clinch two EuroLeague titles, three Super League trophies, and three Turkish cups. He won a FIBA EuroChallenge title with Besiktas and claimed a ULEB EuroCup with Galatasaray. All three teams are based in Istanbul.
The Turkish tactician also helped Italian Montepaschi Siena win the 2002 FIBA Saporta Cup.
His only final game defeat was to CSKA Moscow in the 2019 EuroLeague final with a score of 91-83.
With this EuroLeague title, Anadolu Efes became the third team to ever win back-to-back, following Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv in 2004 and 2005 and Olympiacos in 2012 and 2013.
Ataman has now become part of an elite group of head coaches that won back-to-back EuroLeague titles.
Back-to-Back EuroLeague winners
Aleksander Gomelskiy (1958, 1959, 1960), Pedro Ferrandiz (1967, 1968), Aleksandar Nikolic (1972, 1973), Sandro Gamba (1975, 1976), Bozidar Maljkovic (1989, 1990), Zeljko Obradovic (1994, 1995), and Pini Gershon (2004, 2005).