Matt Thomas lands in Athens: “Panathinaikos is a great opportunity for me”

2023-02-03T19:23:04+00:00 2023-02-03T19:28:26+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

03/Feb/23 19:23

Among the most recent midseason additions to Panathinaikos, Matt Thomas shares his view on the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign

By Johnny Askounis/

Arriving at the Greek capital, Panathinaikos newcomer Matt Thomas explained waiting for the right situation to resume his career following 139 games played in the NBA over the last three seasons. Joining the Greens leads to his debut in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, the top-tier club continental competition in Europe.

“It’s a great opportunity. At this point in my career, I was waiting as a free agent and considering my options in the NBA. However, this is a great opportunity to play in EuroLeague, for a team with so much history. I am grateful for the opportunity,” he mentioned in his first interview in Greece, shared on the official portal of the Greens.

“Throughout my career, I want to control everything I can and work hard every day. I do all I can to help my teams. Obviously, my shooting has helped all my teams. Defensively, I want to be competitive. A high basketball IQ also helped me,” he described what he brings to the table, “I go day by day, never wanting to set high goals. That was not my thinking. If you do the right things every day, the rest come naturally.”

Matt Thomas on NBA options

“I don’t believe so,” he replied to a question about possibly waiting too long for another opportunity in the NBA, “I think I belong in the NBA and that’s why I waited so long. But at the same time, I am a professional athlete and want to continue competing. As I said, this is a great opportunity for me, at a very high level. I am happy with the move.”

Thomas, 28, signed until the end of the 2023-24 season. “As I said, I think about the present and wanting to live in the moment. It’s nice to know I will be here for the next one and a half years,” he commented on his contract with the Greek powerhouse, “I am going to enjoy the present, as I did throughout my career.”

Sitting at 8-14, Panathinaikos is 3.5 games away from the Playoffs zone of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Domestically, the 12-2 record lies two games short of undefeated archrival Olympiacos at the top of Greece’s Basket League standings.

“Obviously, during my time here in Europe I followed EuroLeague and got to know the history of this team. The team carries wins, won six European championships and many domestic titles. I can understand why the fans and management are not happy with the current situation, which is far from normal for the team,” said the 2019 7DAYS EuroCup champion in his own right, “As I said, I will do everything I can to help the team and finish the season strong, with as many wins as possible.”

The Iowa State product displayed shooting talents for Valencia between Spain’s Liga Endesa and Euroleague Basketball’s EuroCup in the 2018-19 season, before switching to the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, and Toronto Raptors. In addition, he spent his first professional season, 2017-18, as a member of Monbus Obradoiro.

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