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Data: EuroLeague; Table: Axios Visuals

EuroLeague week 20 (of 34) tipped off on Thursday as the 18-team, European basketball competition continues its mostly fanless campaign.

The big picture: Europe has long been a landing spot for Americans who can't quite stick in the NBA, as well as a launchpad for future stars. EuroLeague — basketball's equivalent of the Champions League — thus comprises the deepest well of talent outside the association.

  • As basketball's global footprint continues to grow, EuroLeague's popularity and clout should rise in lockstep.
  • EuroLeague alums: In 2018, 19-year-old Luka Dončić became the youngest EuroLeague MVP; before joining the Timberwolves in 2011, Ricky Rubio led Barcelona to the 2010 EuroLeague Championship; Hawks G/F Bogdan Bogdanović was selected to the 2010-20 EuroLeague All-Decade Team.

The state of play: Today's slate boasts some of the season's best games, as No. 1 CSKA Moscow hosts No. 2 Barcelona and No. 4 Bayern Munich hosts No. 3 Real Madrid — showcasing a handful of familiar names in the process.

  • CSKA: Darrun Hilliard (Villanova 2011-15); Mike James (Suns 2017-18; current EuroLeague scoring leader)
  • Barcelona: Leandro Bolmaro (No. 23 pick in 2020 NBA draft); Álex Abrines (Thunder 2016-19); Nikola Mirotić (Bulls/Pelicans 2014-19)
  • Real Madrid: Rudy Fernández (2009 NBA dunk contest); Anthony Randolph (six-year NBA career)
  • Bayern: Jalen Reynolds (Xavier 2012-16); Paul Zipser (Bulls 2016-18); JaJuan Johnson (Purdue 2007-11)

Elsewhere: The rest of the league features a veritable who's who of our collective NCAA and NBA memory:

  • Scottie Wilbekin: Now — Tel Aviv; then — Florida
  • Shane Larkin: Anadolu Efes; Miami
  • Norris Cole: Lyon-Villeurbanne; Heat
  • Kevin Pangos: Zenit; Gonzaga
  • Jan Veselý: Fenerbahçe; Wizards
  • Jonas Jerebko: Khimki; 10-year NBA career
  • Ante Žižić: Tel Aviv; Cavaliers
  • Alex Poythress: Zenit; Kentucky
  • Peyton Siva: Alba Berlin; Louisville
  • Shelvin Mack: Panathinaikos; Butler, eight-year NBA career
  • Luke Sikma: Alba Berlin; son of Hall of Famer Jack

Go deeper: Stat leaders (EuroLeague)

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

4 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.

Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Sept. 29 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Getty Images

The state of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Thursday in an attempt to block the enforcement of its vaccine mandate for federal employees.

Why it matters: The move comes one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin denied Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt's (R) request to exempt the state's National Guard from the mandate.

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