Less three months after it's release on December 28th Russian basketball movie 'Three Seconds' (a.k.a. 'Going Vertical') has beaten all box office records in Russia and has become the highest-grossing Russian film of all time!
The movie tells the incredible cold war story of the USSR national team which faced Team USA in the legendary but yet controversial final showdown of the 1972 Munich Olympics.
It was Doug Collins who calmly sank both of his free-throws before Russians inbounded the ball while trailing 49:50. However, referees stopped the ongoing play, because USSR coach Kondrashin claimed that he had called the time-out before the second three throw.
Indeed he did, but US players and coach Henry Iba (played by John Savage) loudly protested because they were convinced that Kondrashin called the nonexisting time-out. After the time-out, USSR renewed the possession with three seconds left on the game clock.
The most controversial three seconds in the basketball occurred – and not just once but twice! The first time, the Soviets threw up a wild whole court prayer that missed the target. The huge celebration took place but referees cleared the floor and again awarded the ball to the USSR.
The second time around it was Ivan Yedeshko who calmly threw up a very precise whole court pass to Alexander Belov (not related to legendary Sergei Belov) who caught the ball in traffic just underneath the US basket and scored the winning deuce for final 51-50 USSR win.
The most controversial game in the history of basketball was the turning point in the US basketball mindset and relation to The rest of the world which was very quick in catching up in what was known to be exclusively America's game. The next time USSR national team would win Team USA (consisting of NCAA players) was 16 years later, at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Here's the IMDB profile of the movie 'Three Seconds'.
Murray A. is BN contributor and the author of the book about legendary NBA guard Drazen Petrovic ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’ which can be found here.