By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Vassilis Spanoulis made the decision to retire earlier in the summer and all the goodbyes that have been made since have now become official as Olympiacos legend held his retirement press conference this Monday (September 27).
“I had a long voyage in basketball. I learned a lot, I experienced moments I couldn’t imagine. I created my family, but what I have experienced is unimaginable. I experienced moments that eventually made me lose my hair,” Spanoulis started off.
“I was not always a good teammate, meaning that I was really hard with my teammates. I talked to them and they know I did it for the team. I think I inspired a lot of people to never give up and do more than expected,” he said and that statement might have been perfectly followed up later on by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s message, which in a way confirmed that the Milwaukee Bucks star has been one of the inspired people.
“You have a killer mentality and I learned a lot from you. Thank you, we love you,” Giannis said and added. “Without Nikos Galis, there wouldn’t be a Vassilis Spanoulis. And without Vassilis Spanoulis, there wouldn’t be a Giannis Antetokounmpo. I want to take the baton also in the Greek national team.”
Spanoulis welcomed Giannis’ praise and returned the favor. “I want to thank Giannis for his words, I am happy because my kids are living in the era of the Antetokounmpo-mania and they are hearing this.”
Kill Bill also thanked everybody that helped him throughout his career but a special place in his heart went to Olympiacos and, while acknowledging that many players encounter bad experiences, his path was full of blessings.
“I played for Marousi, Panathinaikos, the NBA, PAO again, but Olympiacos proved to be my Ithaca. I want to thank the presidents, we had our moments, good and bad, but we were on the same page, my coaches and teammates and also my family, my brother and my mother. I have heard that many athletes have experienced depression when they retire. I feel full of experiences, I am blessed and I feel I have done everything. I was injured, I tried to come back but that was it. I say all this without notes, from my heart, as I always do.”
Olympiacos owners Giorgos and Panagiotis Aggelopoulos shared some words as well, starting with how hard it was to actually bring over Spanoulis to the club.
“Back in 2010 it was a strategic choice for us to get one of the best players of Panathinaikos and it wasn’t easy,” Giorgos said while Panagiotis admitted the future will definitely feel different. “Olympiacos will return to the Final Four, we might win the EuroLeague but we will never experience the same feelings.”
They also confirmed that Spanoulis’s jersey with number seven will be retired, however, the fans will have to wait for a full year as the ceremony is planned for September 2022. Number seven will be the first-ever jersey retired by the club.