It has only been done three times before but Olympiakos have returned to Greece still Euroleague champions, defending their title in style and confirming their club is one of basketball’s world powerhouses, despite their country’s dire economic straits.
The club ended up with the league’s most valuable player, once again Vassilis Spanoulis ruling the roost, but the club’s ambitions will not rest, and already minds are turning towards the hat-trick.
“At a time when Greeks go onto the streets to protest about the difficult social situation, Olympiakos managed to make people go out and celebrate. Do you feel this is an extra reason for you to be happy?
“It’s the main reason for our happiness. Greece is having a very rough time, but we proved once again that Greeks are strong, stay together through difficult times and they know how to be successful.”
“Olympiakos won their second consecutive Euroleague final by overcoming a double digit deficit. This year you were losing by 17 points, last year by 19. Is it safe to say that fighting until the end is in the DNA of the team?”
“Thankfully this year we didn’t have to win with the last shot, as happened last year with Printezis’s shot, but as you correctly said we overcame again a great deficit. We have done that many times during the season.”
“Three Final-4s, three trophies, three times MVP. What is your secret?”
“The team winning every game, that is my secret. I don’t care about anything else. The personal awards mean something only when we win. I would have done nothing without my teammates.”
“You are the best European player, the MVP of the Euroleague and of the Final 4, so it’s more than normal that many top clubs wish to sign you. Your contract expires at the end of the season. What are your intentions?
“I am the captain of Olympiakos and I only concentrate on winning the Greek title. We won an unbelievable trophy, the Euroleague, for the second consecutive year and now I only think about the Greek championship. After that we will talk and see what is going to happen.”
With all that has happened to Greece recently one might imagine the morale of its sporting institutions would have suffered, too, but Olympiakos is flying the flag for everyone, conscious that they are a rare success story for people in desperate need of some good news.
“Hard work, patience and team spirit. These are the three ingredients that led Olympiakos to the top of Europe for the second time in a row. It seems that the dynasty of Olympiakos has just started,” says euronews’ Yiannis Karagiorgas, from Piraeus.