When Anadolu Efes Istanbul successfully defended the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title, it became one of the few teams to repeat as the continental champion.
A look back at past back-to-back EuroLeague winners
Efes joined a list of teams that starts with ASK Riga, which won three consecutive EuroLeague titles from 1958 to 1960. Led by Janis Krumins, Maigonis Valmanis, Valdis Muiznieks and coached by Alexander Gomelskiy, ASK defeated Academic Sofia in the 1958 and 1959 finals and Dinamo Tbilisi in 1960. ASK reached a fourth consecutive final where it fell to CSKA Moscow. The only other team to threepeat was Jugoplatika Split, led by Toni Kukoc and Velimir Perasovic and, in its first two championships, Dino Radja and Dusko Ivanovic. Split beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 1989 championship game and FC Barcelona in 1990 and 1991.
The only teams to go back-to-back twice were Real Madrid and Pallacanestro Varese. Real first did so in 1964 and 1965, when it downed Spartak Brno and CSKA, respectively. With the same core of players led by Lolo Sainz, Emiliano Rodriguez, Carlos Sevillano, Clifford Luyk, the later additions of Miles Aiken and Wayne Brabender and coached by Pedro Ferrandiz, Real conquered the 1967 and 1968 EuroLeague crowns. In those finals, it defeated Olimpia Milan and Brno. In the 1970s, Varese made it to 10 consecutive championship games and won five championships. Coach Aza Nikolic helped Varese win the EuroLeague in 1970, 1972 and 1973. Sandro Gamba guided the club to consecutive crowns in 1975 and 1976. Dino Meneghin, Bob Morse, Manuel Raga, Aldo Ossola, Marino Zanatta and Dodo Rusconi were among the stars on that legendary team.
Three different teams defended the EuroLeague title in the 1980s. Pallacanestro Cantu, led by Antonello Riva and Pierluigi Marzorati, beat Maccabi in the 1982 championship game and edged Milan the next year on a last-second block by Jim Brewer. Drazen Petrovic led Cibona to back-to-back EuroLeague championships in 1985 and 1986. Cibona beat Real 87-78 in the 1985 championship game behind 36 points from Petrovic. In 1986, Cibona topped Zalgiris Kaunas 94-82 with Danko Cvjeticanin, Sven Usic and Petrovic combining for 66 points. Behind Meneghin, Bob McAdoo and Mike D'Antoni, Milan repeated as EuroLeague champion in 1987 and 1988. It defeated Maccabi in both finals.
Efes is the third team to win back-to-back EuroLeague crowns this century. Maccabi was first; it thrashed Fortitudo Bologna 118-74 in the 2004 championship game in Tel Aviv and defeated Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 90-78 in Moscow to claim the 2005 title. Sarunas Jasikevicius, Anthony Parker, Nikola Vujcic, Tal Burstein, Maceo Baston and Derrick Sharp were its main contributors, led by Coach Pini Gershon. Olympiacos Piraeus rallied past CSKA in the 2012 championship game, which the Reds won 62-61 on an iconic last-second shot by Georgios Printezis. A year later, they beat Real 100-88 in London. Vassilis Spanoulis was named Final Four MVP both times while players like Kyle Hines, Kostas Papanikolaou and Acie Law played big roles. Dusan Ivkovic coached the team to the first of those crowns and Georgios Bartzokas to the second. And now, Efes has joined this exclusive group.