By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Olympiacos forward Giorgos Printezis addressed the disclosure of a letter that was sent to the Greek Federation by him and two other players of the Reds, in which he and his teammates expressed concerns regarding the presence of Rick Pitino at the helm of both Panathinaikos and the Greek national team.
“It was wrong that this thing [the letter] became public,” Printezis told reporters following the win of Olympiacos over Olimpia Milano. “It’s a personal letter and its content was to become public in the future. If it was to become public. Basically, it’s something with which we express our discontent for some topics and nothing else.”
The letter was sent by Printezis and teammates forward Kostas Papanikolaou and guard Antonis Koniaris, the three players of the Reds that are eligible to play in the national team since captain Vassilis Spanoulis had retired from international basketball after the Eurobasket 2015.
The three Olympiacos players mentioned in the letter that they have found themselves caught in a “war” and a toxic situation that it’s neither their job nor their responsibility to manage and suffer.
The letter going public created various rumors that Printezis and his teammates may not be willing to play in the national team anymore.
“No one turned his back on the national team,” Printezis added. “It’s a great honor for me. God willing, I’ll be healthy and play again [for the national team]. Some difficult situations have taken place. What I say with certainty is that no one can blackmail. There’s no such thing. I wish a solution will be found in order to play with the national team again. We love the team a lot, all of us.”
Printezis, an active member of the Greek national team since 2008, said that he and Papanikolaou met with Pitino. The Hall Of Fame coach also confirmed the meeting, stating that it took place before he returned to Panathinaikos, Olympiacos‘ archrival, and a time when there were no coaching vacancies available to him.
“In the past, the president [Giorgos Vassilakopoulos] made some comments, also on Panagiotis Giannakis – a myth of Greek basketball – when he took over Olympiacos. He then didn’t continue [with the national team] for a couple of reasons. I don’t know much about those things. What I can say is that me and Kostas met with Pitino. We appreciate him a lot and we got glad when he took over the national team. He’s a very good coach. I hope a solution is found and we will be there again,” said Printezis.