By Stavros Barbarousis/ email@example.com
Dimitris Giannakopoulos as the hosts welcomed coaches Zeljko Obradovic, Giorgos Bartzokas, Neven Spahja and of course Xavi Pascual who will compete in the tournament.
However, what he had to say about his father and the EuroLeague stole the show: “The creation of this tournament is the least we can do for a person who gave so many. I would like to thank the EuroLeague that included the tournament in its official pre-season calendar and also want to thank Fenerbahce, Khimki and Maccabi Tel Aviv for accepting our invitation. I am glad because this is a tournament among friends. All the revenues will go to the “Pavlos Giannakopoulos foundation”. Its cause is to bring the children to the sports. We are in talks with the Greek authorities in order to create new venues and improve the existing ones”.
Giannakopoulos was also asked about his relationship with the EuroLeague which seems to be part of the past: “A quarrel is never one-sided. We both made mistakes. We crossed the line in some cases. We sat together and discussed. All that belongs to the past for the good of the sport”.
Zeljko Obradovic also spoke about Pavlos Giannakopoulos: “I would like to thank Panathinaikos for the invitation. It’s something special to me. I spend 13 years together with Pavlos Giannakopoulos and his family. He did many things for European basketball and not only for Panathinaikos. He taught me a lot of things, he spoke to me about life, its value and things that I talked about only with persons really close to me. I can’t express my exact feelings, but I am very happy to be here. I met Pavlos for the first time in 1992 when I was playing for the Yugoslavian national team. You could understand how much he and his brother, Thanasis, loved basketball. Everyone in Europe knows this family and how much they have offered to the sport. Just think how many great players have competed for Panathinaikos. It’s easy to understand how they changed basketball. I will repeat that it’s a privilege for me to have to honor to speak with Pavlos for things like life”.