Ergin Ataman: “We made one of the most impressive results in the history”

2024-05-27T00:06:02+00:00 2024-05-27T00:41:15+00:00.

Nikola Miloradovic

27/May/24 00:06

Panathinaikos head coach Ergin Ataman shared his impressions after winning his third EuroLeague title.

By Antonis Stroggylakis /

BERLIN— Panathinaikos is back on the European throne, winning the 2024 Berlin Championship Game against defending champions Real Madrid.

After a troublesome previous season, the Greens hired Ergin Ataman as head coach, revamped the team, and tremendously succeeded, winning their seventh EuroLeague title, the first since 2011.

Amazing feeling this season and tonight, as we made some of the most impressive results in the history of European basketball. After many years without finals, Final Fours, and last season finishing in 17th position, to come here and win the title with 15,000 Panathinaikos fans present is incredible. Despite not starting well and giving them 36 points in the first quarter, everyone started to think it would be a boring final. But we never thought about this. During the timeouts and in the locker room, we always talked about improving defense and aggressiveness, and the game came back to us in the third quarter, allowing them only seven points. In the final quarter, we played perfect basketball. Real Madrid may be the best team this season, but as is often the case in EuroLeague history, the first team of the Regular Season didn’t win the title, and we are the champions,” coach Ataman said at the press conference after winning his third European title.

He believes this could begin a new dynasty for the Athens club, with him at the helm and Kostas Sloukas, the 2024 Final Four MVP, as one of the leaders.

For sure. After we met at the airport in the summer, we talked about how we were always opponents, but he always respected me, and I for him. He will have two more years on his contract; I have one more year, so I can guarantee you for one year, but after that, I don’t know.”

Ataman admits the first goal was to reach the Final Four but after that…

I need to answer honestly, of course, not to be champions, but my dream and our goal was to reach the Final Four. But step by step. I believed we could make it, but you know me, after we reached it, we were champions after two games.

NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo witnessed Panathinaikos and his brother Kostas’ success from the first row of Uber Arena.

Thank you to Giannis Antetokounmpo. He came after the game and told me that I’m the best coach in the world,” Ataman revealed in the post-game conference. “If the NBA MVP tells you this, I’m very proud. He didn’t say from Europe, he told me the best coach in the world. Thank you, Giannis.”

He also discussed the Coach of the Year award for Real Madrid’s tactician Chus Mateo.

After the Regular Season, Mateo deserved to win Coach of the Year. He managed the group very well, so I’m happy for him. But I also said I’m happy because the Coach of the Year never won the title. And I said he won Coach of the Year, and I will win the title,“.