By Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Vasilis Spanoulis has won Euroleague three times, the two last in a row, three Final Four MVP awards and one season MVP award. After all this success, the question posed to him by the Spanish magazine “Gigantes” in June’s edition was why he didn’t have a solid career in the NBA. “Eurohoops” helped in getting the answers and despite this being a really old story, since he played in Houston back in the 2006-07 season, here ‘s what he had to say: “I believe that I was the wrong time in the wrong place. Unfortunately, I had never spoken with coach Van Gundy before signing to Houston. I had only conversations with the GM who was really interested on me. When I arrived, the first thing I heard was that I am a rookie, so I will not play at all and they are not counting on me! I wasn’t in the plans of the coach. I was left on the side. It was just a bad situation. The team leader was T-Mac, there was also Rafer Alston and the coach didn’t believe that I could had some minutes in the rotation. He didn’t knew me as a player. To be exact the coach didn’t had the slightest idea from European basketball and European players. I felt really bad, like I was tricked. I was already a pretty good player in Europe. The first thing coach said to me in my very first day in Houston was: “I don’t know you, you will not play, you are out”. I felt let down. The next summer, coach Adelman came to the team, called me three times and we had some good conversations. I appreciated his gesture”.
Spanoulis elaborated on the details of his NBA misfortune by talking to “Eurohoops”.
- Do you consider going to Houston a bad choice?
“I had just won a silver medal with the Greek national team in the World Championship and I decided to play in the NBA. It turned out that what I had agreed upon, never happened. Coach Adelman wanted me, he asked me to stay, to cooperate with him and start playing. I said to him that I appreciated this, but my decision was already made. The rest was easy, the adjustment to the American way of life and the NBA lifestyle. When I don’t feel good on the basketball court, then everything is wrong and everything is bothering me. When I am full of basketball, then I can adjust, no matter the environment”.
- Would things be different with an other coach?
“They would definitely be. Coach Van Gundy didn’t know who I was. As I said before, coach Adelman called me and tried to be supportive. But at that point, I had lost my trust. I was angry, I was enraged and I said to myself that I will not allow myself to be involved again in such a situation”.
- Your rights were traded to the Spurs, before you were released and signed to Panathinaikos. What happened with the people of San Antonio?
“I have met Tony Parker in a pre-Eurobasket warm up tournament in France. We know each other pretty well, since we were really young and competing for the junior national teams. He said to me that it would be good to stay with the Spurs and play together. However, I was not in the mood to think about it. I had decided that I wanted to play again in Europe. Coach Popovich called and he seemed sincere about believing in me, but my mood was fixed and my gut was telling me to return”.
- Would you consider a second chance in the NBA?
“I don’t know under which conditions I would try again my luck in the NBA. For sure, I would like to play for a team with lofty goals. At this point I am not thinking about anything, but you can never say never! I am not closing the door to the NBA, but until the season in Greece is over, I am not allowing myself to think anything else”.