Page 1


The official magazine of Olympiacos B.C.


New team, new season, same goals. Olympiacos begins his quest to returning to titles and our magazine begins the new season as well. And since it’s the beginning, we will be trying to get you to know us better through the following pages, both the new faces of the team, as well as the veterans, all from a different perspective. The third issue of “We Are Olympiacos” is dedicated to the team and to David Blatt. The SEF has become a … construction site in view of new beginnings, blueprints have been created and everyone has gotten the tools in their hands eager to go to work. Meet David Blatt and all he has accomplished in his life through a 6000 word count interview! The coach gets to talk about everything in regard to his life and career. Read about the page change in the team’s Academies and the special farewell of our Legends to the legendary Ginobili and Navarro. Our third issue is full of photos, exclusive footage from the daily routine of the ‘reds’ both on the Epirus’ mountains as well as at the Piraeus sea port. Our goal is for you to like us. You are the reason this endeavor has been made for and that’s why we would welcome your participation. Because you are our best player. So, send us your photos, as well as your comments towards for us getting better at and we will be trying for the best. Until then, we wish you a good reading and a successful season… Christos G. Bafes



EuroLeague 1997, 2012, 2013

Owners: Panagiotis & Giorgos Angelopoulos

Intercontinental Cup 2013 OLYMPIACOS B.C. S.A. Address: Peace and Friendship Stadium Ethnarchou Makariou 1 Ave. Neo Faliro, Piraeus 18 547 Tel :210 4527600 Fax: 2104527601 Email: Website:

Greek Champion 1949, 1960, 1976, 1978, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2012, 2015, 2016 Greek Cup Winner 1976, 1977, 1978, 1989, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2010, 2011

Board Members. Georgios Skindilias Christos Stavropoulos Dimitris Prassas General Director Christos Stavropoulos Financial Director Nearchos Riganas

We Are Olympiacos (Official Magazine) Published by: PRESS OFFICE of OLYMPIACOS BC Editor in Chief Christos Bafes Editors Jenny Gravia, Antonis Katsikis Designer Andreas Saisanas Photographic agency Eurokinissi

Marketing & Commercial development Director Nikos Lepeniotis






INTERVIEW: DAVID BLATT The contemporary … Achilles in his first big interview as the Olympiacos head coach.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION The ‘reds’ grabbed their tools and got to work on the new season.











12 SPEEDING WITH FMS The ‘reds’ have received their new cars.

34 THE COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR Olympiacos and Bwin together for the next 5 years.

74 7 TOUGH DAYS ‘Clicks’ from the team’s preseason camp in Metsovo.

82 RED QUIZ How well you know Olympiacos.

86 NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK Tsaldaris and Barlos in their first interview as coaches.

94 HATS OFF Vassilis Spanoulis and Giorgos Printezis bid farewell to Manu Ginobili and Juan Carlos Navarro.



PHOTOGRAPHERS’ CHOICE A smile full of hope! The first team photo of Olympiacos for the new season is the most important one the new team will be taking. Why? The presence of little Konstantinos Manios on the roster is the one to add extra value to the said photo instant. The 12 year old Olympiacos friend had been wishing for a long time to meet the ‘reds’ upclose. So, he took a brief … time out of his own fight and came to the SEF to give a huge lesson of strength and soul to everyone of us. Konstantinos was photographed with his beloved players and committed to be by their side in all the tough games of the season. With his smile in the stands, success is absolutely guaranteed.





ONE TEAM: A SPECIAL AWARD FOR OLYMPIACOS Olympiacos won second place among the ONE TEAM clubs of the EUROLEAGUE and the EUROCUP for the 2017-18 season. The ‘reds’ are among the founding teams of the said social responsibility program completing seven years of activities. Penny Jovanovic and Nikos Kampouris that oversee the program went to the workshop in Baskonia where they received the award for the practicing program and the complete package of cooperation with Center for the Training of Kids with Special Needs “Horizons”.

RIVERS CONGRATULATES THE ‘REDS’ The legendary David Rivers, who is the ONE TEAM manager for the EUROLEAGUE, was among the first ones to congratulate Olympiacos, through his personal FACEBOOK page, for winning second best ONE TEAM program in the 2017 - 18 season.


MOST POPULAR YOUTUBE VIDEO The video with Vassilis Spanoulis beating Sasa Veznkov in a three point shoot out sitting in the team bench during pre-season camp in Metsovo. 48.224 views

WE ARE OLYMPIACOS all over Europe The second issue of our magazine was also published in English for all the non Greek friends of the team. This fact did not remain un-noticed by the most significant foreign sports sites, especially those focusing on basketball, which published extensive reports on the context of the second issue and the whole of the endeavor. The digital edition of El Mundo Deportivo and Gigantes del Basket, the English edition of Eurohoops as well as all the Greek Media hosted the second issue of our magazine and we wish to sincerely thank them.


IT’S BETTER TO TALK… “I want to be remembered as a person that would always give his soul and his whole being on and off the floor so as for the team to be successful. As a person that was always interested for the wellbeing of the team above all else and then for his own success. As a person that would, under any circumstance, in any situation, would never give up and would always try to make what some people would think as impossible, possible”. A statement by Vassilis Spanoulis during one of his interviews.


75.476 IMPRESSIONS 3.395 INTERACTIONS SEND US YOUR “RED” PHOTOS We want for new ideas, exclusive photo shoots and original concepts to be filling the pages of our magazine. Our effort to becoming better and even more attractive to all of you who have embraced us from issue one is going to be constant. Your participation is necessary, because Olympiacos is his people. You can send your ‘red’ photos at and we are going to be creating a unique photographic display in the following issues.



REDWHITE SOCIAL MEDIA 402.573 Likes 76.046 FOLLOWERS 24.696 TWEETS 130.936 FOLLOWERS 3.040 POSTS 83.253 SUBSCRIBERS 34.179.059 VIEWS 2.122 VIDEOS

MOST POPULAR FACEBOOK POST The video from the first practice session for the new season.

129.445 impressions 14.580 Comments and interactions

SPANOULIS’ RECORD The captain is on roll and is getting ready to make history once again. Following the departure of Juan Carlos Navarro from action, Vassilis Spanoulis maybe the only athlete that can beat him in the top scorer category in the history of the Euroleague. V-Span, who is EuroLeague’s top passer, needs 417 points to surpass the Spanish player and conquer another top in his remarkable career. Spanoulis who is also the top scorer of the A1 division, had scored 416 points during the 2016-17 season, when Olympiacos had made the Istanbul EuroLeague final. We only mention that for historical purposes, since sometimes coincidences like that take a special meaning.


MOST POPULAR INSTAGRAM POST The photo with the final score of the friendly game against Malaga in Spain

139.354 Impressions - 12.897 Likes - 39 Comments

RED WEDDINGS Two very joyous moments this summer in Piraeus. Giorgos Printezis got married to his beloved Stella, in a beautiful religious ceremony that was followed by the christening of their daughter. Janis Strelnieks followed the same path a few days later in Latvia, exchanging vows with Ieva. Our warmest wishes to both couples.




Captain Vassilis Spanoulis walked through the Arcadia doors once again to meet with the Presidents and for yet another time, the three men agreed to renew their cooperation in only a few minutes time.


Vassilis Toliopoulos never left the SEF during the summer. Personal training and a shift at the Olympiacos ticket offices to serve the fans and summertime was over...




David Blatt and his players got to work on August 17, but the first official practice session of the ‘reds’ took place four days later.







Olympiacos’ two Latvians land in Greece in the early morning hours since the flight from Riga was a direct one and they preferred staying awake to being tired. The ‘veteran’ Strelnieks took up to leading the ‘rookie’ Timma.


The first jump ball of the season was at the Metsovo gym against PAOK. It may be that the game was a friendly one and pre-season camp had started only a few days before, but the ‘reds’ were quick to show they mean business.



The first friendly game at the SEF for Olympiacos was against Rethymno and David Blatt is drawing the first offensive play for his team.

David Blatt and the Olympiacos Presidents Panagiotis and Giorgos Angelopoulos met for the first time in Greece during the first visit of the 59-year old coach in our country in the capacity of head coaching Olympiacos.



A great collaboration, a historic deal that was sealed with the official presentation at the Grand Hyatt hotel in the presence of the Olympiacos Presidents, the Bwin representatives, David Blatt and his players.



SPEEDING WITH FMS New season, new coach, new players and new cars as well. The collaboration between Olympiacos and FMS continues, but this season the ‘reds’ are going to be driving KIA Sportage. Our team’s official sponsor for the sixth consecutive season, is the official distributor for KIA and has chosen for the Olympiacos’ foreign players as well as David Blatt to be able to move around with speed, but also with absolute safety.

So, when you see a new KIA Sportage down the road, one of the best looking cars in their category, maybe one Olympiacos’ player is driving it. David Blatt and the four new foreign players of the team visited with FMS, were given a tour of the contemporary facilities and left driving their own KIA Sportage.

THE FMS PROFILE FMS started their activities in 1992 and as the years went by, evolved to a wholesome and lateral supplier of Vehicle Sales, Renting and Maintenance. Today, they are the official distributors of Fiat, Fiat Professional, Hyundai and KIA. FMS operates in a total of 22,000 square meters area that includes service and waiting areas, maintenance, paint jobs, restaurant corners and garages. They are strategically positioned in Athens, Thessaloniki and Crete so to be able and cover for up to 250 visits a day.




THE MODERN ACHILLES He adores ancient Greek history, while the mythological hero he looks up to is not some invincible God, but rather Achilles. A choice with a message, since apart it symbolizes the bravest warrior from Homers Iliad (he would be fighting for ideals, honor and principle, would not be bought with material gifts and cared about the others), he feels that there is a twist of fate that connects the both of them. The American - Israeli coach, has “unraveled” through “WeAreOlympiacos” the thread of his course from Kentucky to Piraeus and shared with us his thoughts as well as his expectations as the “architect” of the revamped Olympiacos.




A PROFESSOR OF THE … BENCHES! He got the basketball virus from his sisters. “I was born in Louisville Kentucky, the birth place of Mohamed Ali, but we moved to Boston when I was two years old. I lived there till I went to Princeton. My father was working for the military; he was a scientist, a biochemist. He would be working on secret government programs. My mother was a teacher. I have two older sisters that were playing basketball and I was influenced by them, the sport got my attention. I used to watch them when I was little and I wanted to play as well”.

However, during the following years, his mother Lilian became his whole world and vice versa. “My father left home when I was very little. My parents broke up and my sisters also left at a young age to go and live with him in the Netherlands. So, I was living with my mom since I went to junior high”.

Mrs. Blatt had a very specific idea about the path her son was to follow, although she never tried to keep him away from sports. “I had been a very active kid. I got involved with many different sports. However, my mother, being a teacher, was very demanding and persistent as for me to also being a good student. And obviously, that was the reason I put emphasis on my academic studies, parallel to being involved with sports. When I finally had to decide which college I would be attending, I tried to make the best combination of sports and school. 16 OLYMPIACOSBC.GR

At the time, that would be Princeton, and I would be lucky enough to succeed in playing basketball and get accepted by that University, which was quite the feat”.

Lilian Blatt’s dream to see him teach would be partially realized. That’s because although he may not have become a University professor, he often uses historical examples when talking to his players! “My mother never stopped me from playing basketball. She wasn’t particularly interested in the sport; however, she was supportive of everything I would be trying to do. I’d like tobelieve that she was proud of me, although she always thought that sports were a beautiful distraction, but school and academia were what she really wanted for me. After graduating from university with a degree and bibliography - that’s how my love for ancient Greek history and mythology is explained - she would be expecting that I would immediately get a job teaching. However, I wanted to continue playing, that’s why I went to Israel in 1991 in order to play professional basketball. I had wanted to go to the NBA, but I wasn’t that good, so I chose the European prospect”.

ACHILLES AND IMMORTALITY! Israel became his promised land. “I played for 13 years, but I got injured and the irony is it was my achilles! My career was over, just like Achilles lost his life when he was hit at his only vulnerable spot, his achilles tendon! Of course there are quite a few differences between us, but the irony does not elude me”.

won fourteen straight games, so they kept me through the end of the season! Next season, they hired Pini Gerson back, who had been in the team bench before I joined them. I did not get to meet Pini there. I knew him, since I had played for him. I had actually been the captain of the team he had been coaching! I’m talking about Maccabi Haifa. So, when Pini came back, I returned to being an assistant. We have had a very good season together”.

Legend has Achilles “winning” immortality, when his mother Thetis snatches him from inside the burial pyre and transports him to the island of Lefke that becomes a sort of paradise for the brave warrior. Just like Achilles, David Blatt very soon finds his own paradise: Coaching. “I had a great career. I did not get to play at the top level, but I was a good, tough player. However, when I got injured and entered the ‘coaching’ industry, it proved to be a blessing. Even when I was playing, in any team I would be, I would be always coaching the academies. So I was combining both things from that stage. I never had in mind that I wanted to become a coach. It was something I would be doing for fun and the some extra money. So, after my playing career came to en end, I decided to take up coaching and that experience helped me a lot”.

Nevertheless, his choice was not one of need because: “One more reason I chose to continue as a coach, maybe has to do with the fact that because I got to grow up without my father, my coaches had become my mentors. Coaching had always been in my heart. The person with the greatest influence in my life, not only in regard to basketball, but in many different ways, was my high school coach, Phil Moresi. We would call him “Smokey”, that would be his nick name. He taught me the game, but at the same time, he talked to me about life. I needed a father figure at the time and we keep in touch even today”.

THE STREAK AND THE STEP BACK Actually, it wasn’t David Blatt that knocked on the coaching door, but rather coaching on his!

The … retreat after the success he experienced in his first attempt as a head coach, is not a move that many in his place would be making. “I understood that I was new to the craft and I needed to gather experience to evolve properly. Sometimes, it is necessary to take a step back to make the big step forward. This is not the only time I acted this way. When Pini left the next season, I was automatically named the head coach again and I stayed there for four years. Galil was an excellent place for me, because it was a unique team, a small one, but also very professional. They allowed me to develop my coaching skills and work with talented players that would be trying to ‘grow’. I spent six wonderful years there”.

“The people of Galil Elion, with which I had played as a professional player, had been informed about the end of my career, so they contacted me and asked me to become an assistant coach. I said yes. Unfortunately, after only a few months, they decided to let go of the head coach and told me that it would be totally up to me to decide if I would be staying or not. I chose to stay, knowing that I would be coaching some games as the head coach, until they found another one. What happened though, was that I took the team over, we



THE DILEMMA AND THE VINDICATION That step back, was beneficial in the long run “When Pini took over Maccabi Tel Aviv, he summoned me to be his assistant. It was a great opportunity for me to go from a Korac Cup team to a EuroLeague one. And all the more to Maccabi Tel Aviv, a club just like Olympiacos, with history and tradition in Europe. So, I agreed and had two very successful seasons as Pini’s assistant. In the first one, we made the European Championship final and the next one, which was the one that the schism between FIBA and ULEB happened, we won the Suproleague beating Panathinaikos in the final. When Pini left, I became the head coach for Maccabi T.A. for the next two years. We went to the final four in my first season and made the play offs in my second one, but we did not qualify for the final four and they brought back Pini for another year”.

Contrary to previous times, his retreat to becoming an assistant once again was not exactly his choice. “The interesting part is that they never told me but only when it was really late. And then I had to face a dilemma, because it was just before the beginning of the season and there were no open positions. I wanted to work and all the more, the players on the roster were players that I had brought on the team! So it was an unusual situation… In reality, I had no choice but to stay. I haven’t regretted staying though, because we had a superb year. We won the Euroleague in Tel Aviv, which was a very special moment. But I had in mind that I would be leaving at the end of the season, because I knew that since we had won the EuroLeague, Pini would be staying. And that’s what happened”

BRINGING DOWN THE STEREOTYPES David Blatt is among the very few Americans that have both “conquered” and have been “conquered” by Russia! His first encounter with the absolute ‘villain’ of his childhood years was through St. Petersburg. “I joined a new project. That’s where I met and began working with Kestutis Kemzura. It proved to be a unique season. Especially for me, a US kid, with Israeli origins, during the cold war; that was something really unique. It’s a fact that I grew up with a certain perception on what Russia was. However, when I went there, I realized that it was something totally different to what I had come to believe. Of course I found it hard to have to deal with a foreign language and a different culture, but something I’ve learned throughout my career is to see people as people and not as citizens of a certain country. This experience helped me as a person, helped me to develop the personality I have now. Someone who wants to be brining people together, who wants to be ‘breaking down’ barriers


and borders between them. Kemzura and I began working together and had a very successful season. We had a 20-0 record in the FIBA Eurochallenge and won the title. Next year Benetton approached me and offered me a contract. But I had a contract with St. Petersburg, that’s why I asked if they would let me leave. They did not deny me… Kestutis came with me and we were successful there as well. We won the Italian championship, which was a big achievement since we hadn’t been the favorites to win. We also had a very good Euroleague season and next season we won the Super Cup and the Italian Cup. Khimki offered Kemzura a contract in the middle of that season and I immediately agreed that it was a great opportunity and he should accept. He did and left to Russia.

Kestutis Kemzura though wasn’t the only one to get a phone call from Russia… “The same season, I was offered the position of the head coach of the Russian National team! It was something really great indeed, especially for someone with my past. So this proved to be a very beautiful story!”



BLATT FROM ANOTHER … PLANET! Being simply the coach of a Russian team, to serving the National team of the said country, is a totally different but immensely successful story! “When I first went there, everybody would be looking at me as if I were from another planet. Because many people, especially the older ones, that were products of the Soviet system, would be looking at me kind of strange, although this was the period of the new Russia. However, some were trying to be incorporated to the new status quo, that one of modern times and I think that was the reason the Russian Federation chose me, because they wanted the situation to change. When I took over, I changed everything. It was very hard at first. The first season, we got to qualify for the European Championship and next season we won it! It was a huge achievement and an unbelievable surprise. We won the great team of Spain in the final in Spain, while we also won the French team with Tony Parker in its ranks for the quarter finals. We had also won big games earlier in the competition, like the Lithuanian team with Sarunas Jasikevicius and others… Theoretically, we should have been top 8 but we actually won the tournament!”


He remained in the Russian team bench for seven years building powerful bonds with his players and especially with Andrei Kirilenko. Actually, the AK-47 had publicly supported that David Blatt is better than Phil Jackson! “He’s a great player and even today we share a close bond. We generally had a special team and this group got to stay together for seven years. The seven years I had been there are really a very long time for a coach to be with a National Team. Of course, it wasn’t just the golden medal in 2007. We won the bronze medal in Lithuania for the 2011 Eurobasket and the bronze medal in the 2012 Olympic Games. It was a very special group of people that were in and around the team and I’m grateful to have lived this unique experience”.

As for his own people and how they experienced his seven year tenure with the old foe, he said: “My people were totally getting what this was about. For me, it was something more than basketball. It was a way to do something bigger than basketball. That’s why everyone had been totally supportive. My family moved to Russian with me, so they got to feel it as well. They got to experience this with me which was really important”.

A FAN OF GREEK BASKETBALL During the 2007-08 season he had the chance to get acquainted with yet another culture, the Turkish one, as the coach of Efes Pilsen, while he chose to return to Russia for Dinamo Moscow in the 2008-09 season. A few months later however, something happened of unique importance to him: he had his first encounter with the Greek reality. “I came to Greece for about half a year, which was very special to me. At the time, Aris had Fotis Katsikaris as their head coach, who left for Spain however in the middle of the season. Aris might not have been at its best era, but they continued to be a big and well known club, with huge history and tradition. Some of the top Greek players of all time had worn its jersey, Nikos Galis, Panagiotis Giannakis…”

I have huge appreciation for it until today. It’s one of the reasons I was so excited to come back to Greece to coach such a special team like Olympiacos. Olympiacos has one of the best programs of European basketball and certainly among the best in Greece for many years now”.

To be precise, his respect for the Piraeus team got “blown up” in 1997, when a young coach at the time, he got to watch our team from the stands of the “Palaeour” being crowned the Champion of Europe for the first time in its history! “I still remember the 1997 final four, when Olympiacos won the European championship with David Rivers, Milan Tomic and many more great players… I was there! I watched Olympiacos winning! I have the image vividly in my memory. I was in Rusian as a young coach to learn more about basketball”.

It is worth noting that David Blatt had been a Galis admirer long before he became the icon that was loved inside and outside Greece. “We had played against one another at the University. Nikos was a senior at Seton Hall of New Jersey and I was a sophomore at Princeton. Even then, he was special and unique! I always remembered about him! When you play against players that are unique, you get to remember them. That was what happened to me and when I saw and read about his success in Europe, I wasn’t surprised. I was very happy, because I knew him, we had played against each other. We might not have been friends then, I really got to know him when I joined Aris, but I had been watching him… This onnection to history is something that you always bump into when you are in the field for so many years. It happened with Giannakis as well. I coaching against him with the National teams and I have spent a lot of quality time together, we talk on the phone, we have a friendly relationship. I know him very well and I have immense respect for him”.

PRESENT” AT THE FIRST EUROPEAN! A weird twist of fate is that he did not make it - despite really wanting to - to be the head coach of the Israel National team.. “Before I left Israel for the first time to go to St. Petersburg, I was the assistant coach of the National team of Israel for four years. I had been hired as the head coach, but because I was in the process of acquiring my coaching diploma at the time, I wasn’t allowed to be the head coach. I had to resign, since it proved to be a major problem. It’s a very complicated story. However, both as the assistant and the head coach of the National team of Russia, I had many times the chance to play against the Greek National team. I developed a huge respect for basketball here. It’s part of the society and the culture. This is something that attracted me. OLYMPIACOSBC.GR


RETURN, SUMMIT AND NBA! Following his tenure with Aris he came back - triumphantly - to familiar places “I returned to Maccabi Tel Aviv. My first year, in 2011, we qualified for the final against Panathinaikos, but we didn’t make it. We were missing our best player, Anthony Parker and we couldn’t match up Diamantidis. It was a great final four though. I stayed with Maccabi for four years and we finally won the Euroleague in Milan in 2014”.

Having more or less won everything in Europe, he decided it was time to try his luck on the other side of the Atlantic. “I had the desire to do it. I had it in my mind, because I grew up in the US and I wanted to become a part of the NBA at some point. I had been very happy with my job for many many years, but at some point it felt I had done almost everything. Most people there knew me, because we had been working together in terms of the players. I had many contacts, I was a very good source of feedback for them and they were for me. I had many friends, so I wasn’t a stranger. They knew who I was and it was obviously very easy to contact me”.

CLEVELAND VIA… GOLDEN STATE The beginning of the 2014-15 season will find

him in the bench of the Cleveland Cavaliers with the capacity of the head coach. However, Cleveland hadn’t been the first team to open him the door into the NBA world. “The first chance I had, was to become Steve Kerr’s assistant with the Golden State. Actually the job was offered to me and I accepted. A few days after that, Cavaliers called my agent and asked to interview me for the position of the head coach. As you can understand, this was a problem, because I had already accepted the job with the Warriors. I hadn’t signed yet, but I had given Steve my word. So I called him and asked him if I could be taking the interview. He told me to go ahead and do it, but he didn’t really think I was going to get the job. And frankly, neither did I. He actually told me: “I want you to do it, because in a few years you are going to be a head coach with the NBA. That’s what I want for you and this is going to be a good experience”. So, I went, got the job and came back. I told him: “Steve, I got the job. What do you want me to do?” He replied: “I want you to do whatever it is you want to do. You have a job here if you want it, but if you want that position, then take it”. I decided to go to the Cavs, a decision I still don’t know if it was right or wrong”.

Asked about his last comment about right or wrong, he clarifies: “On one hand, it worked great for me. I became a head coach with the NBA, I became the coach of the best player on the planet, my team went to the finals in my first year with them, I had an immensely teaching experience that I needed… However, in the middle of the second year, they decided to change me, which to this day I’m not sure I know why it happened. But what’s done, is done. I honestly don’t know why… They don’t give you a reason, they simply announce their decision. They told me: “We made a decision; the situation is not going the way we want it to”. I had a contract which they completely honored and moved on. The reason could not have been professional because we were top seed in the East with a 30-11 record. I’m not sure, even today. I have some thoughts, but I really don’t know”.



JAMES AND THE LETTER Rumors at the time wanted Lebron James having played a role in his dismissal. But he doesn’t feel it’s fair for the blame to fall on the then Cavs superstar. “I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t really want to think about it. Because it’s one of those moments in your life when you say you need to move on. You have to live with the disappointment, but you can’t let it overwhelm you, ‘eat’ you and stay with you. I think I had a good relationship with everyone that had been working there, of course up to a point. There are times when you miss stuff or you can’t find common ground with some people, but in general, the relationship was good. Everyone wants to ‘pin’ that on Lebron, but this is not fair. I don’t know what to say. Obviously, some people did not believe in me. Obviously, it was more than one person…”

The “divorce” with the Cavs was awkward, but at least, it had a happy ending. “At the end of the day they respected what I had offered to the team program for a year and a half and gave me the ring. They told me: “You earned it; it was not given to you”. That was beautiful. It was the message in a letter from the players and the board. That’s why I can say that finally, something good came out of it. How many coaches in the world can say that they own a NBA championship ring, a EuroLeague championship, a European Championship with a National team, a Eurocup title…”


“OLYMPIACOS IS THE HIGHLIGHT” Asked if this ring is the highlight of his coaching career, he replied: “Actually, there is no highlight for me. Maybe there are highlights, but in my way of thinking it’s more what you do, not what you are rewarded with. It’s the daily process and your work. The most important thing for me is not what I have accomplished with others, but what I’m doing with Olympiacos today. This means something for me. Can I help this great program become better? Can I help the great players that I have here? Those that have been here and those that I’ve brought? Can I help them become the best team? Can I give the Olympiacos fans a team that they will be proud of, that they will support and respect? Can I become an example and a leader that deserves all of the above? That’s a highlight for me. That’s what makes me high every morning. It’s not if we win this or that title. These are for the history and they are wonderful. They have value. But they are not the reason I’m doing this…. It’s what we are doing and what this means for the people”.

Work has begun for some time now and David Blatt has begun infiltrating his philosophy with the team. But which exactly is it? “My philosophy is always the same. Play hard, play as a team, play for the win and enjoy what you are doing. That’s the spirit. You need to love what you do to become really great at it. This gives the players “raison d’etre”, the reason for being and gives the fans the reason to support the team. They want to be watching something they like, they enjoy, something they want to cheer for… This is the first thing I tell my team at the beginning of the season, to try to live with these principles. There are more of course, however, this is the key”. OLYMPIACOSBC.GR


V-SPAN AND THE OTHERS… During past summer there’s been a lot of speculation about what the role of Vassilis Spanoulis is going to be. David Blatt, is actually responsible to give the answer. “Vassilis in not only a great player and a tremendous winner. He’s a basketball person. He lives and breathes basketball. His family and basketball are the two most important things in his life. We’ll try to play in a way that will help him be the great player he is and can be, so as to help the team in the best possible manner. In a way that is functioning for both sides. Given the fact that we have been working for about a month now, we are in a process that we develop that, we’ve been building on it. We’ll find the suitable way, so that all of this works well for Billy and everyone else. Him, together with Printezis, Papanikolaou and Mantzaris, are players that have achieved a lot with the team and have experience and the DNA

of a winner. They have played for great coaches and they have played great basketball. They are going to be helping us, me and the rest of the team, become the best team we can be. And of course, it is my job to find how to help them help us. Believe me though, it’s much easier when you have players with that kind of talent, skills and experience. This is something I’m going to be using, I’m going to rely on and asking them to do their best. To ‘sacrifice’ what needs to be sacrificed for the team to succeed. But they are that kind of people, so I don’t worry about them. I don’t feel that I need to make some major adjustments because these guys know what it’s all about”.

Θ Τ ΕΕ Θ Α Α Μ Α Σ Σ Β Ρ Ε Ι Τ ΕρμούύύύύύΑθήνα ΕρμούύύύύύΑθήνα


“I ONLY WANTED OLYMPIACOS” There have been people who were willing to bet their money on a negative answer by David Blatt to the ‘reds’ offer. But he didn’t find it hard to say yes for very specific reasons. “Reason no 1 is RESPECT. I respect and have always respected the Olympiacos program. No 2, it’s the people. First of all, the Presidents, Mr. Giorgos and Mr. Panagiotis Angelopoulos, Mr. Skindilias, Mr. Stavropoulos, Mr. Bafes… The team’s people had me for the start! Of course, another very important reason was the core pieces of the team, like Spanoulis, Printezis, Papanikolaou, Mantzaris… I knew that there is a very good foundation. And finally, one more reason is Greece! I love the time I’ve spending here. I adore Greece!”.

“I had some interviews with NBA teams in the summer before I spoke with anyone in Europe. Right after winning the Eurocup with Darusafaka, I wanted to go to the NBA. I had thought about it for long and that’s why I had said no to Maccabi Tel Aviv one year ago. I had decided to honor my contract with Darusafaka despite they were playing the Eurocup competition, so as to be free at the end of the season. I went to interviews with four different teams and when I didn’t get the job, although I came very close to, there were some teams in Europe. But I only spoke directly with Olympiacos and it was the only team I was interested in. I wouldn’t want to say which the other teams were, but I honestly didn’t even begin talking with them. From the moment the direct communication with Olympiacos began, I wasn’t interested in anything else. For me, it was the easiest and best decision I could have made. Negotiations had been as easy too”.

His original aim was his NBA ‘come back’. From the moment though, this was not going to happen, Olympiacos was the only team that was of interest to him in Europe. OLYMPIACOSBC.GR


HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH ‘SCOOPS’ It has been said multiple times that he’s a coach who prefers to working with young and inexperienced players, who he then turns into protagonists (hence his choice of Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach LeDay). However, he says that’s not the case… “I don’t prefer this to that. I listen to people saying that I’d rather have players that don’t have a lot of experience and are not very well known. I’ll tell you this is not true. What defines signings is the team’s finances and availability. So, if you really want to build a strong team and if you really have some experienced players like the ones we have, you need to think what type of player you need to be bringing in. You need to think how you are going to get players that have skills apart from a good name. There’s nothing wrong with that. If I look backwards, into Olympiacos’ recent history, I can remember the example of Kyle Hines, who came here without being a big name and definitely without being highly paid and without great experience. He became a recognizable member of the Olympiacos family though and helped the team a lot to reach the top. I’m not the only coach who has been doing something like that. There have been examples of many coaches who take players with a lot of potential and help them develop and reach a high level. It’s a process that I really enjoy, but I have also coached Lebron James and we made the finals. No one can say that he wasn’t at the highest level. I have coached Andrei Kirilenko, who was a very high level NBA player. He played for me with National team of Russia and we have had a lot of success together. So it’s not true that I choose inexperienced players and take them from the bottom to the top. It’s true though, that throughout my career, I had the chance to work with players that hadn’t been but then became great names. But that’s my job. I’m a coach. It is expected of me to do that”.


ON A PERSONAL NOTE… Successful in the benches, but also in life, since he has a beautiful family. “My life is a little bit different than most, because I have spent many years in Europe. Unfortunately, we don’t live all together now, but we remain a very close family. My kids have grown up. My twin daughters are 26; they have graduated University and have jobs. My other daughter has just turned 20 and is in the army. I also have a 21 year old son who has been playing basketball professionally. They all live in Israel. In general, there have been difficult moments through the years, since the way my career evolved, it wasn’t always easy for us to be together. This had an impact of course, but not as to how close we are to one another and my commitment into helping my kids in any way I can, but rather with the daily life routine. Unfortunately, this life style had a negative impact on my marriage too, however, my relationship with my former wife, Kinneret, remains a close one, one of friendship and is positive for the whole family. We are all very close and supportive of one another. We are a close knit family, just a little bit different than the rest”.

Asked on whether it’s easier for him to coach on the court or at home, he replied: “A few years ago, when my son was young, I would be spending a lot of time at home to guide him. When he turned 16, I realized I had to stop coaching him and just be his father. It had started becoming difficult, so I chose to be his father and not his coach. And it was always the same with my daughters… I never coached them; I was only their dad to them”. Today, Tamir Baltt is a professional basketball players with Hapoel Jerusalem and David Blatt would love to have him in his team at some point. “My dream, before I finish with my coaching career, is to have him as a player with one of my teams. He’s a much better player than I was and he’s going to be even better. I’m very happy for that. You always want your kids to be better than you. While he was growing up, one the things I mostly admired in him was the way he would be handling his last name. Being the son of a recognizable coach when you are a player yourself is not easy. However, he handled it admirably. I’m proud of him. Very proud! Just like I am for all my kids! They are incredible human beings and I’m very happy to be their dad!”



LEGENDS AND REALITY Many people are under the impression that basketball was his first love. The truth though is different. “I was in love and I wanted to become an American football player, not a basketball one. An accident I had though when I was 14 made me focus more on basketball. I was water skiing and I cut my leg pretty badly, so I wasn’t able to play football that year. I got to play basketball, I had a very good rookie season and I realized I should be focusing on basketball. My first love though was football”.

His relationship with religion is a close one, but not to a degree that he seeks help from above when it comes to his teams. “Indeed there was a rabbi that would be following the team when I was with Aris, but it was because that’s what he wanted, not because I had asked him to” he made clear and went on: “I’d say that I’m more spiritual than religious… I’m proud of my American roots, my Israeli ethnicity and my Hebrew religion”.

A winner or the best? When asked this and who had been his role models, he replied: “My role model was my high school teacher Phil Moresi, while in terms of players, I always wanted to be like Bill Russell. He had been the great leader of the Boston Celtics. He was my hero. He won 11 championships in 13 years and it was then I truly realized that when the team wins, the players win as well. Bill Russell was not the GOAT for the NBA, he was though the GOAT of winners. There is a huge difference between being a great player and being a winner. For me, that’s the most admirable.

We asked him to describe himself in five words: “Dedicated, determined, loyal, worker and competitive”. The two first have their ‘root’ in an incident of his childhood, which came to be his guide for the future. “When I was about 11 years old, my mother would take me to the lessons she was giving to special needs kids on weekends. I hated all of that. But one day, while I was working with one of the kids, I managed to have them write their name. The joy I experienced was indescribable and this changed everything for me. At that point I became determined, which I hadn’t been before… I thought that nothing was going to stop me. I would be succeeding in distinguish myself despite the circumstances. I wouldn’t let anything stand in my way”.

For most people, the most important trait a coach can have is the deep knowledge of the sport and the correct deployment of the plays. But not to David Blatt… “There are four things when you are a coach: You need to know your material, you need to develop 32 OLYMPIACOSBC.GR

a philosophy that matches your team, you need to be a good teacher and fourth but foremost, you need to be a human”.

INSTEAD OF EPILOGUE… Asked on what his dream is about the end of the season, he replied: “I would like for the season exactly as it began. In the best way possible! However gets it, good for them”.

THE COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR On June 28, 2018, Olympiacos announced the beginning of the collaboration with GVC Holdings in terms of promoting the BWIN brand on the team’s official jersey for the next five years. A deal with a ripple effect and was talk of the town all over Europe. On September 10, 2018, Olympiacos and GVC Holdings gave a Press Conferece to present their collaboration as well as the team’s new jersey with the new sponsor imprinted on it for the 2018-19 season. The event was held in the presence of the team’s Presidents Mr. Panagiotis and Mr. Giorgos Angelopoulos, Mr. Gary Nall, Head of Western Europe for GVC, the head of Bwin in Greece, Mr. Ioannis Kapodistrias, as well as the President of the association “Together for the Kid”,


Ms. Alexandra Martinou. Olympiacos’ collaboration with Bwin is the most important sponsorship in the history of Greek basketball and maybe even of Greek sports in general, considering the duration, the terms and the conditions of the agreement and is the absolute acknowledgement of the ‘reds’ European course during the past ten years. One of the biggest global corporate groups in the realm of sports betting and gambling, chose Olympiacos to promote its products, which proves the global recognition and respect towards the Olympiacos brand.



DATE OF BIRTH: 16/09/1994 HEIGHT: 1.91 cm WEIGHT: 88 kg POSITION: Guard COUNTRY: USA




What motivates you?

“Becoming the best player I can be”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“My strong points, I think they are my working ethos, my competitiveness and my IQ. My weak spot, I would say I need to improve on my athleticism”. Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “I will still be playing basketball at a high level”. Describe yourself with five words… “Hard worker and calm. I can describe me with two words”. Who’s your role model? “Definitely my dad. I try to be like him. I don’t have a role model basketball wise. My favorite player is Lebron James because he has the whole package”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “I would probably be a lion. The king of the jungle. The beast”.

Does your jersey number stand for something? “Yes. Allen Iverson was my first favorite player and he used to wear number 3. That’s why I chose it”. Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “One of my high school coaches talked to me about the hurt of regretting against that one of discipline. It always hurts more to regret something you did than working hard and doing what’s right on a daily basis”. Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I don’t know. I would have probably done something related to the world of fashion. I don’t know what that would be, but it would definitely be something to do with fashion”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you? “I would like for both to remember me as someone who would always be respectful of the game and was competitive”. Your message for the season… “I will be giving 100% to win every night”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 15/06/1996 HEIGHT: 1.88 cm WEIGHT: 80 kg POSITION: Guard COUNTRY: Greece




What motivates you? “Becoming better”

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“Shooting and speed are my strong points. Defense is my weak one” Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now?

Does your jersey number stand for something? “It was the first number I ever used. My parents had suggested I take it and I did”. Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “All my coaches had told me to work hard and never give up”.

“Hopefully here!”

Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living?

Describe yourself with five words…

“As a veterinarian”.

“I don’t like losing, I never give up, I’m selfish, hard working and funny”

When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you?

Who’s your role model? “Spanoulis” What kind of animal would you be and why? “Definitely a dog. I love them and I like that they are such loyal animals”.

“As a team mate that was doing everything possible for the team and as an opponent that would never give up”. Your message for the season… “We’ll do everything to have a better season than the last and win as many titles as possible”



DATE OF BIRTH: 23/07/1992 HEIGHT: 2.01 cm WEIGHT: 95 kg POSITION: Forward COUNTRY: France




What motivates you?

“Becoming the best player I can be, winning titles and inspiring people”. What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“Loyal, generous and a good listener. My weaknesses… Sometimes I’m impatient and I love chocolate” Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “At the Olympic Games in Paris with the National team of France”. Describe yourself with five words… “Funny, hard working, dedicated, generous, ambitious”. Who’s your role model?

had certain restrictions in France and could take that number, I added 2 and 4 and got 6”. Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “The last one I remember comes from Jasikevicius. He would always tell us that it’s not just basketball; it’s something bigger than that. What we do on the floor, how we function, how we react and work, how we talk, it’s something bigger than basketball”. Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I would be a golf player”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you?

“My father”.

“As the player that would be working more than anybody else and my opponents as a … silent killer”.

What kind of animal would you be and why?

Your message for the season…

“A lion… That’s because this is my astrological sign. Also, I always liked lions and what they represent”.

“I can’t wait for the time to see our fans from up close and live the atmosphere at the SEF as an Olympiacos player. From that point on, we have confidence in the season that is about to begin. I’m certain it’s going to be great”.

Does your jersey number stand for something? “I used to wear number 8 in the past because that was the number my father used to wear. Also, Kobe Bryant is my favorite player and he had originally picked number 8. However, I later on chose number 24 and because we



DATE OF BIRTH: 07/08/1982 HEIGHT: 1.93 cm WEIGHT: 91 kg POSITION: Guard COUNTRY: Greece




What motivates you?

“My family, because I want to make them proud. I think that I was born motivated and I always find new reasons to becoming better”. What are your strongest and your weakest attributes? “I’m a perfectionist and sometimes this has a toll on me. I’m also honest, straight forward and I respect everyone” Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “Definitely involved with basketball” Describe yourself with five words… “Spontaneous, straight forward, sincere, humble and selfish in the good sense of the word” Who’s your role model? “We all grew up with Jordan and he was definitely my role model when I was young”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “I’ll tell you my zodiac sign: Lion”

Does your jersey number stand for something? “I was born August 7”.

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “Enjoy what you do”. Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I think I would still be dealing with something having to do with basketball or sports in general”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you? “As a player that would be giving 100% every single day to become better. As someone who would always try to win and whatever he would be doing, he would be doing it out of his excessive love for the sport”. Your message for the season… “I wish for health, because that’s the most important thing and to be able to bring the team back to winning titles”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 02/07/1992 HEIGHT: 2.04 cm WEIGHT: 104 kg POSITION: Forward COUNTRY: Latvia



What motivates you? “My team mates!”

the National team and it’s my favorite number also. All the more, it was the number I had on the jersey I worn as a child and it was given to me by my father”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever?

“My strength is that I never give up. I fight to the end. I also try for the best at all times. I don’t have any weaknesses”.

“Don’t give up and don’t bend your head low, you are here because someone wants you and believes in you. If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one is going to believe in you. Do your best and everything is going to work out”.

Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “I’ll be still playing basketball and enjoying life”. Describe yourself with five words… “Passionate, healthy, family man, friendly, alive”. Who’s your role model? “My whole family. My father, my mother, my sister, my wife and my son. We are always together. My family comes first and then my friends”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “I would like to be a bird, so that I could be able to fly high and watch the world from a different perspective”. Does your jersey number stand for something? “I used to wear number 6, but I felt it was time for a change and I chose number 10. That’s my number with

Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I would be working in something that had to do with computers”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you? “As a very good team mate that could be trusted and got to help them in the difficult moments. My opponents, as the toughest player they ever played against”. Your message for the season… “I’m really excited. Coming to Olympiacos is a big step for me. I know that the past few years haven’t been as good as they wanted them to be, that’s why it’s bring the titles back home”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 30/12/1994 HEIGHT: 2.13 cm WEIGHT: 104 kg POSITION: Center COUNTRY: Serbia



What motivates you?

Does your jersey number stand for something?

“My desire to win. To do that, you have to work hard”.

“I have been wearing number 11 since I was a child and I remain loyal to it. My brother used to wear it as well when he was younger. He used to play basketball, but quit at a very young age”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“I feel comfortable with myself in general. However, to tell you the truth, I don’t like talking about me, so I wouldn’t like to say more. My weakest spot though probably is my lack of experience. Nevertheless, it’s something that’s going to build with time”.

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “No one is going to do your work for you”.

Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now?

Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living?

“I’m always optimistic and my dream is to one day play in the NBA. I hope to make it come true”.

“I haven’t thought about it, so I don’t know the answer to that”.

Describe yourself with five words…

When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you?

“Like I said before, I don’t like talking about me. I prefer for the others to describe me”. Who’s your role model? “When I was younger, I would be watching Vlade Divac. But I’m not for copying. Every person has their own characteristics and that’s what they should be promoting”.

“I’d like them to remember me as a simple, normal person”. Your message for the season… “I wish for health so as to succeed in our goals”.

What kind of animal would you be and why? “I honestly have no idea”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 01/09/1989 HEIGHT: 1.91 cm WEIGHT: 84 kg POSITION: Guard COUNTRY: Latvia



What motivates you?

Does your jersey number stand for something?

“Wanting to be more than a basketball player”

“13 is my lucky number. I began playing wearing this number and I always choose it, if available”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“This is a question for my coaches. So I’m answering”. Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now?

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “Be ready and capable to adjusting in any situation”.

“Spending quality time with my family”.

Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living?

Describe yourself with five words…

“I would be a dog breader”.

“Five are too many! I’m saying this: I’m too shy”.

When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you?

Who’s your role model? “My oldest brother” What kind of animal would you be and why? “A dog, because I simply love dogs”

“Both my team mates and my opponents would be nice to remember me as a good player and a good person”. Your message for the season… “We’ll give it all to have a successful season”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 06/08/1995 HEIGHT: 2.06 cm WEIGHT: 102 kg POSITION: Forward COUNTRY: Boulgaria / Greece / Cyprus


What motivates you?

Does your jersey number stand for something?

“My family”

“I got number 14 when I was with Aris, I played well that year, so I kept it”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“Patience is my strongest point. Sometimes it’s also my weakest”. Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “First of all I wish to be healthy and hopefully to be … here!” Describe yourself with five words… “Patient, positive, hard working, smiling. I think that four are enough…” Who’s your role model?

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “Always be ready to play and be patient”. Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I don’t think I could be anything else. Now that I’m thinking about it I’d like to be an athlete with a different sport. Playing tennis”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you?

“My father, I try to follow in his footsteps”.

“As a good team mate. For the opponents, that they had a hard time playing against me”.

What kind of animal would you be and why?

Your message for the season…

“A wolf… It’s a strong animal”

“First and foremost I wish for health, for the fans to have the arena always packed and that we make them happy winning titles”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 22/02/1985 HEIGHT: 2.05 cm WEIGHT: 105 kg POSITION: Forward COUNTRY: Greece



What motivates you?

Does your jersey number stand for something?

“The mere fact that we are with Olympiacos, that’s a motive enough in itself”.

“There’s no particular reason for it… This number came to me. I don’t think I chose it, it chose me and brought me luck”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes? “The good thing is that I have self knowledge and the negative one is that sometimes I don’t believe in myself as much as I should”.

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “Try to win something everyday”.

Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now?

Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living?

“In Syros”

“I would be a sailor, a captain to be precise”.

Describe yourself with five words…

When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you?

“Casual, optimist, boheme, hard working and full of energy”. Who’s your role model? “Dirk Nowitzki”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “I would be a fish, because I love water”.

“My team mates as a guy that they could have real fun with and was a friend! The opponents, as someone who gave them a hard time”. Your message for the season… “I wish for health. To play basketball and enjoy ourselves. To be a team on and off the court. To once again build that winning attitude and bring titles to the team. To project a beautiful aura and to enjoy the game together with our fans”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 31/09/1989 HEIGHT: 2.04 cm WEIGHT: 104 kg POSITION: Forward COUNTRY: Greece



What motivates you?

Does your jersey number stand for something?

“When I was younger, my motive was my goal to go to the highest level. Now, it is the drive to continue being at the highest level and to succeed reaching our goals with my team each year”.

“Nothing in particular. It was the number I got when I first joined Olympiacos, things went well and now it is my favorite. I wouldn’t change it”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes? “One of strongest suits is that I’m very social. My weakness is that I’m gullible and many times fall for it”. Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “Hopefully with a family of my own”. Describe yourself with five words… “I can’t describe myself with five words”. Who’s your role “My father and my mother. They are my role models and I admire them for their efforts all these years under very difficult circumstances”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “I would be a lion, so that I could be sleeping for 16 hours a day. That’s what lions do, they get to sleep 16 to 18 hours!”.

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “Truth is that I have had many remarkable coaches in my career and I have a lot of things to remember from all of them. So I wouldn’t like to say any one thing”. Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I would have tried, without knowing if I could have made it, to be a traffic officer, just like my dad”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you? “When I’m done playing, I don’t care to be remembered. I’m rather interested to have made friends, to get to know people that we will continue hanging out together after that part of our lives is over”. Your message for the season… “Stay healthy and with hard work and our fans by our side we’ll succeed in experiencing unique moments”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 16/04/1990 HEIGHT: 1.94 cm WEIGHT: 86 kg POSITION: Guard COUNTRY: Greece



What motivates you?

“Doing what I love since I was a kid”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“I’m patient and I’m smart. My weakness is that a lot of times I behave irresponsibly”. Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “To have a family and continue playing basketball”.

(the team’s equipment manager) told me something then that stayed with me: “It’s not a big thing to wear 5, 6 7 or 8 and playing. It’s something when you wear 16, 17, 18 or 19 and getting to play. So, since I became a starter for the team I kept it to honor that”. Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “That no matter what, no matter what you do inside the four lines, you are alone. So when you go in, you’ll be giving the best you’ve got”.

Describe yourself with five words…

Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living?

“Patient, impulsive, irresponsible, social, optimist”.

“I can’t imagine me doing anything else…”

Who’s your role model?

When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you?

“Steve Nash”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “A dog, because it’s my favorite animal and the only one so close to humans”.

“As a good team mate, with whom they experienced happy moments. As for the opponents, I’d like them to remember as someone who would give them a … dizzy spell”.

Does your jersey number stand for something?

Your message for the season…

“I wear number 17 for a reason… The first year I joined Olympiacos I got number 17 and Dimitris Paschopoulos

“To be healthy and do whatever possible to celebrate titles”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 20/12/1994 HEIGHT: 2.08 cm WEIGHT: 106 kg POSITION: Forward COUNTRY: Greece



What motivates you?

Does your jersey number stand for something?

“My wish to winning titles”

“I think 21 to be a lucky number and that’s why I chose it”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“My strongest point is that I’m not rattled by anything. I’m not. My weaknesses, I’m impulsive and spontaneous”. Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “You can never know where you are going to be in five years time. I hope to be healthy”. Describe yourself with five words… “Spontaneous, strong, impulsive, free and an intense player”. Who’s your role model? “Kostas Sloukas, both as a player and as a person. He’s the best person in the basketball world and the hardest working one. Also Antonis Fotsis, I had said that before. Right now, there is no one I’d like to try and immitate”. What kind of animal would you be and why?

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “I have heard a lot of advice from coaches, but I can’t pick out anyone specifically”. Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I’d be a race driver. It’s my hobby and I’ll take it up after I’m finished with my basketball career”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you? “I’d like them to remember me as a good team mate. I don’t care how I’m going to be remembered by opponents”. Your message for the season… “We’ll give it all to conquer titles and make our fans happy”.

“I’d like to be a lion”.



DATE OF BIRTH: 19/02/1989 HEIGHT: 2.10 cm WEIGHT: 109 kg POSITION: Center COUNTRY: Greece



What motivates you?

Does your jersey number stand for something?

“The Olympiacos’ fans”

“I got ‘31’ after my year with Bilbao thanks to ‘bro’ Raul Lopez, who probably is the greatest guy I ever worked with in my career”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“My passion for the game is my strong point, waking up early in the morning my worst”. Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “At the SEF” Describe yourself with five words… “Boheme, enjoying life, loyal, passionate and funny”. Who’s your role model? “My basketball idol was Tim Duncan, otherwise it’s Leonardo di Caprio, that’s who I’d want to be”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “I’d be a wolf that stays the last. The big one, the veteran. And I’d be that guy because I’m tough, I know how to survive and you’ll never see me in a circus like a lion”.

Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever? “To think about the game all 24 hours of the day where ever I might be. That’s how I would be evolving”. Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I would be working at the flower mills of my dad’s in Thivai. What I would like to be doing is a totally different thing… I’d like to be a surfer and chase the wave”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you? “As a player that had respect for the game, his team mates and his opponents”. Your message for the season… “Ai ai ai fuego !”



DATE OF BIRTH: 30/05/1994 HEIGHT: 2.01 cm WEIGHT: 104 kg POSITION: Center COUNTRY: USA



What motivates you?

“Winning and my team mates”.

What are your strongest and your weakest attributes?

“A good thing is that I can be doing a little of everything… Shooting threes, running, playing hard, guarding all five positions. My weakness is that I don’t go left often enough…” Where do you “see” yourself in five years from now? “If I remain dedicated to the game and to my team, I see myself with a lot of championships won”. Describe yourself with five words… “Intense, talker, active, humble, hungry and blessed”. Who’s your role model? “I don’t have one. Maybe some of my coaches… I would say coach Rock”. What kind of animal would you be and why? “I’d go with the lion, because it’s the king of the jungle”. Does your jersey number stand for something?

younger, I would always try to get 23, but it was never available. So I then chose 32 and I got ‘stuck’ with it”. Is there any piece of advice a coach ever gave you that you will remember for ever?

“It’s still early to tell… I’m learning everyday from coach Blatt. I can’t answer that at this moment, but I’ll have a lot to tell you about in a few months”.

Were you not a professional athlete, how would you be earning your living? “I’d be in an area that I would be helping people, although I don’t know what my role would be exactly”. When you are finished with your playing career, how would you like for your team mates and your opponents to remember you? “As a tough player that would be giving everything for his team. I’d like them to remember me as a winner. As for the opponents, I’d like them to remember me as someone they hated to play against”. Your message for the season… “I’m trilled and blessed to be here. I’m happy to be a member of Olympiacos and I’m ready to win many games and titles”.

“32 has always been my number. In reality, when I was











Position: Head coach Date of birth: 22/05/1959 Country: Israel - USA Former teams: Hapoel Galil Elion (1993-1999), National team of Israel - Under 22 (1996-1997), National team of Israel (assistant, 1997-2001), Maccabi Tel Aviv (assistant, 1999-2001), Maccabi Tel Aviv (2001-2003), Maccabi Tel Aviv (assistant, 2003-2004), National team of Israel (2004-2005), Dinamo St. Petersburg (2004-2005), Benetton Treviso (2005-2007), National team of Russia (2006-2012), Efes Pilsen (2007-2008), Dinamo Moscow (2008-2009), Aris (2010), Maccabi Tel Aviv (2010-2014), Cleveland Cavaliers (2014-2016), Darusafaka (2016-2018). Titles - European Champion with the National team of Russia in the 2007 Eurobasket. - Bronze medal with the National team of Russia in the 2011 Eurobasket. - Bronze medal with the National team of Russia in the 2012 Olympic Games.

- East Conference NBA Champion with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2015). - Euroleague Champion (2014 - Maccabi Tel Aviv). - Israeli Champion (2002, 2003, 2001, 2012, 2014, Maccabi Tel Aviv). - Israel Cup Winner (2002, 2003, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). - Eurochallenge Champion (2005 - Dinamo St. Petersburg). - Eurocup Champion (2018 - Darusafaka) - Italian Champion (2006 - Benetton Treviso) - Italian Cup Winner (2007 - Benetton Treviso) - Adriatic League Champion (2012 - Maccabi Tel Aviv). Individual accolades - Euroleague coach of the year - 2014 - Coach of the year in Israel (1996, 2002, 2011, 2014) - Coach of the year in Russia (2005) - Coach of the month in the NBA East Conference three times in 2015.





KESTUTIS KEMZURA Position: Assistant coach Date of birth: 20/04/1970 Country: Lithuania Former teams: Besiktas (2001-2002, assistant), Lietuvos Rytas (2002-2003, assistant), Lietuvos Rytas (2003-2004), Dinamo St. Petersburg (2004-2005, assistant), Benetton Treviso (2005-2007, assistant), Khimki (2007-2009), Lokomotiv Kuban (2009-2010), Aseko Gdynia (20122013), Nymburk (2013-2015), Darusafaka (2016-2018, assistant), National team of Lithuania (2005-2009, assistant), National team of Latvia (2009-2010), National team of Lithuania (2010-2012), National team of Austria (2016-present day).

Position: Assistant coach Date of birth: 18/02/1971 Country: Greece Former teams: AEK (1998-1999, assistant), Sportig (1999-2000), Near East (20022003, assistant), Harstad Vikings (20042005), Frankfurt Skyliners (2006-2007, assistant), Kolossos Rhodes (2007-2008, assistant), Olympia Larissa (2008-2009, assistant), Ilysiakos (2009-2012, assistant), Shanghai Sharks - CBA (2012-13 assistant), Manawuatu Jets (2013-2014), Kifissia (2014-2016, assistant), Shanxi Brave Dragons (2017, assistant)

Titles As a head coach: - Bronze medal with the National team of Lithuania in the 2010 Mundobasket - Czech Republic Champion (2014, 2015) - Russian Cup Winner (2008) As an assistant: - Eurochallenge champion (2005) - Italian Champion (2006) - Eurocup Champion (2018)

GIORGOS DEDAS Position: Assistant coach Date of birth: 02/01/1980 Country: Greece Former teams: AEK (2016-17, assistant), Trikala (2017-18, assistant)


WHAT’S TRENDING? Let’s meet the Olympiacos’ players, off court. What they eat, what music they like to listen to, where do they go out?


“I watch a lot of TV shows generally, due to travelling all the time. These days, since there is no Game of Thrones, I watch Gotham and I enjoy it”.

always used to wearing. I haven’t changed anything”.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO WEAR? “Sports attire… casual”.

WHAT KIND OF SHOES WOULD YOU LIKE TO ALWAYS WEAR? WHICH ONES MAKE YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE? “I can wear any kind of sneakers. But I don’t prefer any one in particular”.

WHAT DO YOU USUALLY MATCH THEM WITH? “Sweat pants or shorts… Depending on the weather”.

NETFLIX or AMAZON; «Νetflix».


“The Avengers: Infinity war. I really enjoyed it. I’m a fan. It lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes and it all action and fighting”.

DO YOU WEAR ANY OTHER ACCESSORIES? “A chain with a cross and a prayer beads bracelet”.

WHICH ONE OF YOUR TEAM MATES HAS THE BEST DRESS STYLE? “Giorgos Brogris, who owns a clothing store”.


“Only Instagram, and I’m not really into it”.


“Whatever is on the radio! I listen to everything, but I kind of prefer Greek music. I only don’t listen to rock and heavy metal”.



“Most Greeks listen to the same kind of music, mostly Greek music. The foreigners prefer R&B “.


“I go to “M coffee & more” in the afternoons, the coffee shop I own in Peristeri and at night, where ever my friends want to. I don’t care, so long there is good music playing”.

WHO IS THE BEST AT FIFA/ PES AND WHO’S THE WORST? “I’m the kind of PRO by far! I don’t lose to anyone. I don’t even care who’s good at FIFA” .



“When there is no game and there is a chance for something like that, we usually go downtown in winter time. During days off in the summer we usually hang out at places on the urban beach avenue”.






FIFA OR PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER? “PRO of course, there’s no FIFA for me”




“Some of us who have been together for years have influenced one another and say the same things. ”Whatever” is not mine, it got stuck with me. People from Thessaloniki say it a lot, so I got to saying it from “Pap” (i.e. Papanikolaou). Before him, Sloukas and Katsivelis would be saying it all the time”.


“Nothing. Whatever I used to eat when I was 15, I keep eating now. I haven’t changed anything at all”.


“At this moment, that I’ve just had a haircut, yes, I like it. In general I prefer my hair when they are freshly cut”.



Olympiacos B.C. World Mastercard

Οι πιο δυνατές εµπειρίες µε την οµάδα σου. Μόνο µε την πιστωτική κάρτα Olympiacos B.C. World Mastercard. Χρησιµοποίησέ τη σε κάθε σου αγορά, συγκέντρωσε πόντους και εξαργύρωσέ τους µε πλούσια δώρα και µοναδικές εµπειρίες, όπως: Ταξίδι στο εξωτερικό µε την οµάδα, για 2 άτοµα · Παρακολούθηση του αγώνα από θέση Court Seat · Κάρτα διαρκείας για όλη τη χρονιά · Υπογεγραµµένη εµφάνιση · αγαπηµένου σου παίκτη. της οµάδας και µπάλα µε την υπογραφή του

Το προϊόν παρέχεται υπό τις ισχύουσες περιοριστικές διατάξεις στην κίνηση κεφαλαίων. Πληροφορίες στο




Olympiacos went to the mountains of Epirus and specifically at the magnificently beautiful Metsovo for the fourth season in a row for his pre-season camp. This time the days the ‘reds’ had to spent on the mountain were less due to the obligations many players have had with their countries’ National teams. David Blatt and his players spent seven days and six nights on a 1200 meters altitude, they practiced hard, bonded as a team, played two friendly games against PAOK and Aris and shed liters of sweat in the village gym. The “WeAreOlympiacos” presents you some specials photographic instants, not so much from the actual work taking

place, but rather from the ‘reds’ stay at the beautiful Grand Forest hotel and the few activities that were available in their limited free time. Some unique ‘clicks’ from the Olympiacos ‘den’ at Metsovo…









LEGENDARY 4/9/2004




Upon hearing that the great Al lost the battle with the illness that wrecked havoc throughout his life, European basketball was immerged in mourning. Alphonso Ford was not just a great athlete, but also a great person. The 4th of September will always be a hard day for all of us. 17/9/2011

FAITHONAS MATHAIOU DIES The “Patriarch” of Greek basketball and the founder of the great team of Olympiacos in the ‘70s, Faithonas Mathaiou, dies at the age of 87, having left a huge sports legacy behind.

With 36 points by Zarko Paspalj and Tarlac and Tomic scoring another 20 each, Olympiacos beats Olympija Ljubljana 88-81 at the SEF and having won the first game in Slovenia, seals his qualification to the Champions Winners Cup. Olympiacos has never missed an appointment with the top teams in Europe from that season on. 13/10/2010

PANELLINIOS 57 - OLYMPIACOS 85 Vassilis Spanoulis plays with the Olympiacos’ jersey for the first time in his career. Today’s captain of the ‘reds’ and the greatest athlete in the history of the Club played for the first time with the Olympiacos’ logo against Panellinios at the Lamia gym for a Greek Cup game. In that first game, Spanoulis scored 15 points with one three.

26/9/1992 17/10/1996

ZARKO’s RECORD Zarko Paspalj is still scoring. In the premiere of the 1992-93 season, Olympiacos with Giannis Ioannidis in his bench, had suffered a huge upset, losing to Dafni 105-103, despite the 54 points scored by the Serbian forward. These 54 points are the scoring record for any Olympiacos player in the Greek League.


OLYMPIACOS 110 - ESTUDIANTES 78 The most important season in the history of Olympiacos was that of the Triple Crown. The ‘reds’ who hadn’t started the season in the best possible way, won big against Estudiantes 110-78. These 110 points are the second best scoring record in the team’s European history.

CALENDAR 27/10/2016

BASKONIA 90 - OLYMPIACOS 95 With a magical performance, Olympiacos beat Baskonia on the road, having scored amazing percentages outside the three point arc. The Sfairopoulos’ players made 16 threes (Mantzaris had 5) and this is their best three points performance in the team’s European history.


OLYMPIACOS 92 - ULKER 76 In his first European game of the new era, the first for the Champions Winners Cup after 13 years, playing against Olimpija Ljubljana on October 1, 1992, Zarko Paspalj performed magic and with 39 points, led his team to victory. This performance, together with the 39 points scored by Walter Berry against Ulker three years later, are the best individual scoring performances in the team’s history.

28/10/1993 07/11/2014

BAYERN LEVERKUSEN 53 - OLYMPIACOS 70 Bayern Leverkusen was the team against which the Olympiacos big players made memorable performances in terms or rebounding, since the ‘reds’ individual records in these categories were made against the Germans. Roy Tarpley grabbed 16 defensive rebounds against Bayern on 28/10/1993, while a year before, on 5/11/1992 Walter Berry had done the same, once again on the road. 02/11/1978

OLYMPIACOS 106 - AL YIALA 57 The golden team of Olympiacos in the ‘70s that made the six best teams of the Champions Winners Cup holds a unique record. The team of Giatzoglou and Kastrinakis had bested the Egyptian Al Yiala with a 49 points difference making this one the widest European game victory in the team’s history.

RED STAR 57 - OLYMPIACOS 62 This game is special for historical reasons, since it was the first one between the two teams in the top club competition. The special bonds and the passion displayed that night made the game special. It will always have a place in Olympiacos’ history book because the ‘reds’ also set their European blocking record with 9.


OLYMPIACOS 129 - AMPELOKIPOI 69 The buckets at the SEF were on fire and the Ioannidis’ players never stopped for one second against Ampelokikoi. The Champion team of Olympiacos had five players on an amazing night. Eddie Johnson stopped at 28 points; Sigalas had 21, Fassoulas and Tarlac 20 each and Limniatis another 16. The result? The best scoring night in history of Olympiacos.



1 WHAT’S THE SEASON (5 points) 1. A current Hall of Famer that was a player of the team 2. Olympiacos did not win a title during that season 3. The team’s coach was Greek

2 TO WHOM IT BELONGS? (10 points)

On whose player arm is this tattoo on?


WHO IS WHO? (10 points)

Name the two players that hide in this face.


THE HISTORIAN (2 points for each correct answer)

1. Which Greek teams apart from Olympiacos Alphonso Ford has played for? 2. What was the number on his ‘red’ jersey ? 3. He was drafted by the Sixers. Right or wrong? 4. Al was born in Florida or in Texas? 5. He played for Scavolini after Olympiacos. Right or wrong? 82 OLYMPIACOSBC.GR

5 SNEAKERS CORNER (10 points)

Who wears these shoes?


FIND THE DIFFERENCES (2 points for each one)

The right photo has five differences compared to the left one. Can you find them?




WHO GAVE THE ASSIST? (5 points for each correct answer)

1. I’m a TV host

1. For the Olympiacos win against Panathinaikos in OAKA for the 2016-17 EuroLeague?

2. I very often visit Karaiskakis and the SEF 3. I had played in 2002 in Korydallos for the “love game”


2. For Mantzaris’ buzzer beater three against Zielona Gora in the 2013-14 season?

THE ‘REDS’ ARCHIVES (3 points for each correct answer)


1. How many French players have played for Olympiacos? 2. Who was the Olympiacos’ captain the Rome Final Four? 3. How many Greek Cups has Olympiacos won? 4. Which was Toliopoulos’ former team? 5. For which other Greek team Printezis has played for?

WHO AM I? (10 points) 1. He’s not alive anymore 2. He was a center 3. He had won everything with Olympiacos 4. He played with the ‘reds’ for one season 5. He was 2.13m



ANSWERS 1. 2000-01 2. Janis Timma 3. Janis Strelnieks - Sasha Vezenkov 4. Papagou - Sportig - Peristeri 10 - Correct - Florida - Worng, in Siena 5. Vassilis Spanoulis 6. The 24’’ signal - The Nike swoosh on Spanoulis shorts - The Spalding logo on Scariolo’s socks - No. 14 on Unicaja Malaga player’s jersey - The Unicaja Malaga logo on the advertising boar 7. Christos Ferentinos 8. Vassilis Spanoulis - Matt Lojesk 9. Three - Giorgos Sigalas - 9 Cups - Kolossos Rhodes - Olympia Lariss 10. Christian Welp


I used to live… In Clairmont, France .

My favorite player was… Kobe Bryant.

I lived with… My parents.

Our pets at the time… A dog we used to call Gaspar.

I went to school to… In France, in Clairmont.

My best friend’s name was… «And still is, Joffrey Lauvergne. I am so happy that I will play against him at the game Olympiacos Fenerbahce!

My favorite TV show was…

People used to call me…

I used to eat for breakfast…

I used to watch the NBA all the time.



The team I was playing for at the time was…

I used to go on vacation…

The team of Clairmont.


The team I rooted for was …

Paris St. Germain and the Los Angeles Lakers

In my wallet I used to have…

A photo of my parents, always

I would go to bed at… At 21:00

What I used to love doing was… Playing street basketball.


The ‘stupidest’ thing I had ever done was… I never listened to my elders.

The person I used to imitate was… Kobe Bryant

If I had 100 euro, I would be spending them on… Buying shoes.

Olympiacos used to men to me… «David Rivers»…

My favorite place on earth was… The basketball court

My worst habit was… I wouldn’t be listening to anyone.

My favorite toy was… «Tony Hawk».

I would be expecting that dinner was…

Other sports I used to like… Skateboarding, roller blades and golf.


Outside of sports, I used to love: Music




Dimitris Tsaldaris and Nikos Barlos have taken up to preparing the … next day for Olympiacos. The new blood. Aiming, that one day, they get to see their work in flesh and blood watching now under age kids wearing the Olympiacos’ jersey. The two veteran basketball players and current coaches have taken up managing the Olympiacos’ Academy in the summer and get to present their plan through WeAreOlympiacos. They talk about their goals, their transition from players to coaches and the future of Olympiacos, as well as that of Greek basketball in a more general framework.


How was it moving from inside the perimeter lines to the bench’s end?


“The transition from player to coach was very easy for me. My first goal had been to continue being involved with basketball after I had finished my playing career and I did it. I had of course begun to preparing for the next stage when my playing career was approaching at its end. It wasn’t a spontaneous decision. As that end was coming closer, I as creating the next day in my head. So the transition was easier, since I had begun thinking more as a coach and less as a player as the years were going by”.


“I had begun having a different approach to basketball as I was closing to the end of my career. I would say I was looking at it with different eyes. I was getting ready for the next step in my life, that’s why I had been ready for it long before I hang my shoes and withdrew from action. The transition from player to coach wasn’t a hard decision, since I had wanted to remain close to basketball”.




DIMITRIS TSALDARIS Seeing things from the other side, as coaches and not as players, do you regret things that you had done or said as players or is it anything you would have changed now that you get to see things from the coach’s perspective?

“I, the criticizing I was doing by self and about myself to my coaches. I would have been more willing to discuss things, especially towards the end of my career”.


“I can say that I had a generally good communication with my coaches throughout my career. Actually, when I got to play abroad, I got more liberated and became more approachable and I got to understand even better how important the chemistry between players and coaches is. That’s the model I would like to support right now and I’ll be right by my players in whatever they need”. OLYMPIACOSBC.GR


What’s the plan and your goals for Olympiacos, taking up the managing of the Academies? Is there a specific direction given by coach Blatt?


“The first thing we want is to infiltrate the kids with the Olympiacos DNA. With everything that Olympiacos stands for. As coaches, our plan is to play according to a modern basketball model, emphasizing on details and the sports fundamentals, because you cannot go far without all these. We are also going to be giving emphasis on speed, athleticism and quick thinking and reflexes. Contemporary basketball needs speed in both thinking and reacting. There are definitely pieces that we need to have the same approach with coach Blatt’s philosophy, we have gotten these elements and we are going to be implementing them in our philosophy. Our goal is to give up all that we have taken from our coaches, showing the way to the new kids. 90 OLYMPIACOSBC.GR

With the same love and passion we got them from our coaches, that’s how we want to be giving them back”.


“I agree with Dimitris, and we also want to prepare good human beings, not just athletes. As players, we want these kids to have a winning mentality. We also want to educate them, both the kids and the parents. We want for the Olympiacos academies to have it all, to be bringing out admirable human beings to the sporting society and even further. Because basketball is a miniature scale of life itself. Purely inside the lines, we want to be playing fast and modern basketball”.

Looking at the general picture and not only that of the Olympiacos academies, where do you think that Greek basketball is heading to and what is it that we need to get better at all levels, since the National team has been away from any success for a long time now.


“What Greek basketball needs to be doing is to turn the page. There are new standards, so we need new ideas. The production process seems to have stopped. It’s not only evident by the lack of success lately, but our general outlook. Victory should only be the absolute goal at the Men’s National team level. At younger group ages, what we need is to set the proper foundations and instill the young athletes with the proper mentality, so as for them to later on become the members of the Men’s team. I’m not worried that we haven’t had any success lately; I’m worried that we don’t have talent. Young kids get to play at a higher level earlier, not when they are 20 or 22. Greek basketball should put speed in the game, apart from playing a good tactical game, we should also be playing fast. We should be taking care of the process, to prepare complete players that have a complete grasp of the fundamentals”.


“I’d say that kids need to first of all love sports and basketball in general, since that it is we are talking about and that’s the sport we have served all these years. We have also to teach kids the fundamentals of the sport and my opinion is that we should allow them to make a mistake and then correct them on it. There is a tendency these last years to try and prepare the “perfect” kids and players. This is not right, we need to allow kids to be wrong and then correct them, that’s the only way for them to learn in my opinion. It is also extremely important, and that’s something we have talked about with Dimitris and we are 100% on the same page, kids need to learn the fundamentals. Greece, as a basketball school, relies on defense and ‘reading’ the game, but these are not the only things we need to be teaching the kids. This is the base. I think though that basketball has left us behind. There is a shortage of shooters and play makers in young ages and we need to work on that. We need to be playing fast, to incorporate new ideas and allow the new kids to take the front seat, to bring new talent to the surface”.







TWO LEGENDS SAY “GOODBYE” TO TWO LEGENDS! Vassilis Spanoulis and Giorgos Printezis “tip their hats” to Juan Carlos Navarro and Manu Ginobili and say “goodbye” to the two legendary personas of world basketball that have recently retired from action, on behalf of Olympiacos basketball!



VASSILIS SPANOULIS ...on Juan Carlos Νavarο

“He has left a huge legacy” A lot of things stood amongst them while on the floor and their battles on club and National level were dozens, with most of them till there was no one left standing! However, what bound and keeps binding V-Span with Juan Carlos Navarro is the mutual respect for one another. “He’s one of the best shooters ever for European basketball. He’s a player with a very long career who wrote golden pages in the history of basketball and the Euroleague, as well as that of the National team of Spain. Without a doubt, he was one of the toughest opponents to guard. A player that stayed with the same team for twenty years! He was the leader of Barcelona and we will always remember him as one of the best players that ever got to play on European courts”, the ‘reds’ captain pointed out. And went on to say: “When players of that caliber retire from action, players that bring fans to the gyms and are a source of inspiration to young kids, as well as to active players, it is only certain that basketball has a lot to lose. Having said that however, all good things come to end. Maybe he did not have the ideal end, but Navarro has left a huge legacy behind him and he will be remembered not by those who got to see him play, but for generations afterwards”.

“We always wanted to win against each other” The fact that both players have a lot of respect for one another is a known fact. What however people don’t know is that Spanoulis’ first born son, Thanassis, is a fan of “La Bomba”! “He really liked him as a player and he has a photo taken with him! Maybe some people would get annoyed or make negative comments on his general attitude, but one cannot but admit that he was an extraordinary player, who has many fans all over the world”. Asked about what it is he remembers the most from his battles against the Spanish guard, he replied: “I don’t remember anything in particular. But we were really competitive against one another! We wanted to always win with our teams, but that was it… Off court, our relationship has been one of mutual respect and appreciation. What he got to live is a dream. The legacy he’s leaving behind is huge and his family, his wife and daughters and all the people close to him should be really proud of him”.

...on Μanu Ginobili “He’s one of my favorite players!” Vassilis Spanoulis’ son is a fan of Juan Carlos Navarro; however, Kill-Bill himself is a fan of Manu Ginobili! “He was an amazing player! One of the most competitive ones. It’s not something special coming from me, when Kobe Bryant has attested to that, that is he was among the most competitive players he had ever played against. That says a lot. He was a huge winner. A player that went to the NBA and many people thought he wasn’t going to make it, however, he went to the right team that took advantage of all he had to offer. He did some amazing things with San Antonio. He’s one of my favorite players! I really loved his playing style and his competitiveness on the floor and basketball is going to miss him. The mere fact that he remained competitive until he was +40 years of age is proof enough of his class”. One of most bitter moments of Vassilis Spanoulis is combined to the presence of Manu Ginobili! “The game in Beijing in 2008 is one I don’t want to remember”, the captain said, talking about the quarter finals game between Greece and Argentina for the Olympics, although he was quick to clarify : “It was one of my worst moments not because we did not get to lock him up in the locker rooms and he played a magnificent game, but because I had missed the three that would take us to the semis. He was amazing in that game. But that’s basketball, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose… The thing is that these players sincerely worth our respect, because they never give up, they are competitive and always want to win”.




he did!” The message he wants to send to the Spanish guard is the following: “What he did with his career was beautiful and I hope that from now on he will continue as a beautiful life with his family. I wish him health and that he spends his time well”.

“He has left his mark”

...on Μanu Ginobili

...on Juan Carlos Navarro

Just like V-Span, Giorgos Printezis has also many times faced Juan Carlos Navarro when playing. “A very big player. A ‘clutch’ one. You can tell how big he was because even in tough or bad nights, he knew how to bring the game where he wanted it to go to win it by himself. He was very good for a very long time and he’s among the players that have left their mark and will be remembered for many years to come” The Olympiacos’ forward remembers a great many performances by Juan Carlos Navarro, both with the National team of Spain, as well as with Barcelona. However, he chooses to distinguish the one most pleasant for him! The one when in the crucial last seconds of the 4th quarter final, Navarro missed one free throw and then with a three at the buzzer, our team’s ‘St. George’ gave the qualification to the final four to Olympiacos! “He had missed the free throw and we were in the final four! When you play and get to qualify to the final four with a home court disadvantage against a team like Barcelona, it’s something huge! It was one of the greatest qualifications we have won as a team and I think generally in basketball. We had played very good basketball and there was suspense till the end. Each free throw is different, we all know that. Even players with 90% can miss. Any given moment is different, so yes… I was thinking that he might miss one, just like

“He’s an example to everyone”! The Olympiacos’ forward ‘bows’ in front of ‘Speedy Gonzales’ or … Many Ginobili. “He’s a huge player, clutch as well! He’s great because he did not seem to have the potential at the beginning, but nevertheless became one of the greatest in the world”. If he could turn back the time and choose to play one game again against the Argentinean star, that would be the one with the National team in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. “Things with Ginobili are very clear… If there is a game I would like to play again, it’s the one with the National team in Beijing in 2008. He had played an amazing game then and he had hurt us. There were times you knew what he was about to do, but it was still very hard to guard him. He’s an example for everyone, 100%... Just like I said before, without the background and without a huge inherent talent he succeeded with lots of hard work, persistence and the right mentality to reach such a high level and play high level basketball until his forties”.


WE ARE OLYMPIACOS - vol. 3 English Version  

Olympiacos BC Official Magazine

WE ARE OLYMPIACOS - vol. 3 English Version  

Olympiacos BC Official Magazine