By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Panathinaikos is one win away from the Greek league title, however without Olympiacos in the playoffs and in the league, Greek basketball is not winning much. And Panathinaikos‘ coach Rick Pitino addressed the issue after Game 2.
While speaking live to the Greek national television, coach Pitino said the following: “Here’s my feeling, I have said this all along. Olympiacos made a big mistake in what they did. After the season, if they had a problem they should fight to solve that problem. But… and here’s the but…This is Rick Pitino, this is not Dimitris Giannakopoulos (ed.note: speaking). Greek basketball needs Olympiacos. Greek basketball needs them. If I was them… you know when I feel best in life? When I stand up and say I am wrong. That’s when I feel the best. Stand up Olympiacos, say we were wrong and come back because all the other teams in the Greek league need them. We need them, they need us. We should all be together off the court. On the court, we want to beat each other, but the Greek league needs Olympiacos. They should stand up and say: “We made a mistake, we should have solved those problems after the season”. In the courts, wherever you want to do it. I have great respect for them and we need them in the Greek league. And I am not a Greek. I am just speaking about what’s best for the game of basketball”.
A little bit later, he added in the press conference: “The referees The Greek league needs Olympiacos and Panathinaikos. When you don’t have either of those teams, it’s like the NBA without the Lakers or the Warriors“.
Dimitris Giannakopoulos two hours later made the following statement: “I would agree with the coach that Olympiacos should apologize, but I will categorically disagree with him on the fact that the Greek basketball needs a club that doesn’t respect rules and laws, that targets referees, applauded appalling fans behavior, believes in “it’s either we, or nobody” and many more. What Greek basketball really needs is healthy efforts like those of Promitheas Patras. That should be the beacon for others and not those who are trying only to destroy”.