Twenty years after his retirement Nick Galis – who is widely considered the greatest Greek Basketball player to grace the European courts – was honored by his former club Aris.
Over six thousand people crammed into the main hall of the Alexandrio Sports Palace of Thessaloniki to help celebrate the testimonial of their hero who later in the evening had the sports hall named after him.
Galis said: “When I came out and felt the love (of the fans), I could not resist (shedding a few tears). All the moments were great, hanging my jersey, the new name of the hall. It was one night that I will never forget as long as I live”.
Galis is considered by many to be the greatest individual athlete that the country has ever had.
Celebrated basketball coach Zeljko Obradovic was full of praise for the former shooting guard.
He said:’‘Many kids started to play basketball just because of him. His contribution to European basketball is huge, is great. One more time, I want to thank him for everything that he did generally for basketball.’‘
His years with Aris lifted the Greek side from relative obscurity, into the basketball limelight.
Galis inspired millions of Greeks to take up the sport and shoot hoops but he also inspired in other ways as Former Barcelona player Audie Norris explains.
Norris said: ‘‘I can never forget his name. I’ll never forget his name, as long as I live, because my son’s name is Nikos as well. It is true. He was named Nikos, because of Nick Galis. I had that much respect for the man, as a person and as a player.’‘
Galis remains the Euroleague’s and the Greek Championship’s all-time leader in career points scored and points per game.
He also holds the FIBA World Championship scoring records for the highest career points per game average.