Friday, May 9, 2008

FORMER DUKE STAR WINS EUROLEAGUE FINAL FOUR MVP

ESPN – Editied.
Suddenly, as Trajan Langdon collected his MVP trophy from former Real Madrid legend Walter Szczerbiak and the 2,500 fans who had made the long journey from Moscow began their delirious celebrations, it all made perfect sense.

Some 3,500 miles away in Langdon's homeland, Szczerbiak's son, Wally, is in the middle of a playoff run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the very team Langdon left after three injury-plagued, largely unfulfilling years.

Sunday night in Madrid, Langdon's decision to build a new life, a new career for himself on a different continent and in a country so far from home, turning his back on every young American ballers' dream in the process, looked inspired.

Winner of his second Euroleague Final Four in three years, Langdon's 21 points and seven rebounds made him the MVP of an ultimately comfortable 91-77 victory for CSKA Moscow over Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv at Madrid's Palacio de Deportes.

"This is top two," said Langdon when asked to rank the performance among his career highlights, which also featured a 1999 NCAA Final Four appearance with Duke. "The one we won two years ago in Prague was just as big, but every time you win a championship, they just get better."

Tellingly, and understandably, Langdon made no reference to basketball highlights from his "other" life, from home on the other side of the Atlantic.

"Home" for Langdon is now Russia, and despite several NBA scouts' analysis this weekend that the 31-year-old (32 next week) could easily still be a solid player in their league, the 6-foot-3 guard admits the thought no longer crosses his mind.

"A couple of years ago I did," Langdon said when asked if he thought of returning home and trying to catch on with an NBA team. "Would it have been great to stay in the NBA and have a long, successful career there? Sure. But I've been blessed to have this opportunity."

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