Sergio Llull's championship-winning shot is destined to go down as the signature moment from the 2022-23 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season. Llull, 35, is in his 16th consecutive season with Real and had the honor, which he opted to share with longtime teammate Rudy Fernandez, to lift the EuroLeague trophy as his team's captain. It was not an easy season for Llull, who had to adjust to a different role with less playing time. Nevertheless, he was at his best for the most critical games of the season and delivered an iconic moment in EuroLeague history.
Tribute to the champs: Sergio Llull
Llull came off the bench in all but 3 games this season and averaged less than 17 minutes per night - his lowest playing time since his debut EuroLeague campaign in 2007-08. However, Llull found ways to help the team, scoring in double digits eight times and often changing games with his high energy and long-distance shots. He had a season-high 20 points against Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade in Round 20 and 19 in a home victory against FC Barcelona in Round 21. Just when he seemed to be finding his rhythm, Llull ruptured the internal lateral ligament in his left knee in a Copa del Rey game against Valencia and missed the team's last 11 regular season games. When Llull returned for the playoffs, he quickly went from zero to hero.
Llull had one of the worst moments of his career in Game 2 against Partizan. Near the end of the game, he committed a hard foul on Kevin Punter that started a benches-clearing incident and led to the game being called before the end of regulation time. Llull was suspended for one game, returned in Game 4 and played a decisive role in Game 5 when he drilled a three-pointer that capped Real's 18-point second-half comeback. He had all of his 8 points in a 123-second stretch that put Real well on its way to the Final Four in Kaunas.
After contributing 5 points and 5 assists in less than 13 minutes in the semifinals to help Real to a 66-78 victory over archrival FC Barcelona, Llull stepped into the spotlight late in the championship game. Real had the ball down 1 with 12.7 seconds left and Coach Chus Mateo called Llull's number. He did not disappoint, sinking a shot over Moustapha Fall's long arms to claim his third EuroLeague crown.