4.6 Seconds to Immortality

I have followed the german basketball scene for about two decades now. There have been so many moments worth to remember, so many close finishes in games, so many incredible shots and plays that will be in my mind forever. But if I had to choose one it would definitely be the special one that comes up first to me. You need some keywords? OK, here they are: Mithat Demirel, German Cup Final 2003, Cologne vs. Berlin.

If you still have no clue what I’m talking about then it’s time for a BBL history lesson.


In 2003 Alba Berlin and Rhein Energy Cologne met in the Cup Final. I will never forget that first quarter that made Cologne look like the winner when they started the game with 21:2 (!) run. But basketball is a game of streaks, Alba Berlin fought back and even managed to take the lead late in the third quarter. It had been Alba’s first season without the Iceman Wendell Alexis and it was especially Vladimir Petrovic, who stepped up in this game and scored 18 points even though he had troubles with his ankle. When Alba had a 9-point lead Cologne’s point guard Sasa Obradovic really exploded and was unstoppable for Berlin’s defense. With the help of the serbian floorgeneral Cologne was able to tie the game with just 4.6 seconds to go.

80:80. Alba Berlin had the possession, but had to inbound the ball from the endline under their own basket. 4.6 seconds and 91 feet away from the basket. I guess many rather expected a long quarterback pass than someone trying to get to the hoop as quickly as possible. But that’s exactly what Mithat Demirel did. If you have not seen the footage so far, just sit back, relax and experience how a player can run from one end of the court to the other, make a lay-up, make his team win the cup with the last shot and get immortal.

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