Keith Langford: “I made a mistake the first time I rejected PAO and this is about redemption”

2018-07-12T19:01:39+00:00 2018-07-12T19:07:59+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

12/Jul/18 19:01

Keith Langford has agreed to sign with Panathinaikos and talked exclusively to Eurohoops about the new challenge of his career.

By Nikos Varlas/

Two-time (2014, 2017) “Alphonso Ford Top Scorer” winner Keith Langford will be returning to EuroLeague in 2018-2019 with the jersey of Panathinaikos. The two sides have already agreed on a deal that will bring the American guard to Athens and OAKA for the upcoming season.

Playing with Panathinaikos means a lot to Langford on many levels and not only because he will join the ranks of a six-time EuroLeague champion and the most successful club in Europe during the past decades.

When I first arrived in Europe it was the first important name I heard people talking about. My agent represented Mike Batiste, one of my first preseason tournaments in Europe was against Pao and I just remember being so impressed by everything about them,” Langford told Eurohoops. ” Also, the first-ever final four I watched was PAO beating CSKA.”

“So for this to come full circle shows how far I’ve come on my career,” Langford added. “I’ve made the majority of my career decisions about money and while it’s paid off financially for sure, last year was the first time I felt I made a mistake by not accepting PAO’s offer. China was just not for me and the surgeries made the experience even worse.”

“But I took a risk and when it didn’t work I went to Israel to show that I was healthy again and get my rhythm back.” Indeed, Langford made an impressive return to Europe the previous season following his stint in China.

Joining Panathinaikos will require a pay decrease for Langford compared to his previous salaries. But the player himself is completely fine with it since playing for the Greens holds a special value for him, not counted in cash. “This was not about money. This is about redemption and embracing playing for one of the top clubs in European history. I’m ready!”

Panathinaikos has won six EuroLeague titles since 1996 but the last time the club played in a Final Four was back in 2012. Langford himself came close in 2014 with Olimpia Milano, but ultimately he and the Italian team didn’t make it past Maccabi Tel Aviv in the playoffs.

Having a chance to finally play in the Final Four and help his new team make it back to the tournament, is yet another reason why Langford chose to continue his career with Panathinaikos.

“The motivation is huge on both sides. Pao hasn’t been for six years and in my career, it’s the only thing I’m missing. I’ve been all Euroleague and won scoring trophies and been to the playoffs, but no final four. This is a huge opportunity,” the American superscorer said to Eurohoops.

With Panathinaikos, Langford will be called to share the floor with All-EuroLeague guard Nick Calathes. The Greek player comes off what is widely considered as the top season of his career, a campaign in which he displayed basketball of MVP quality. Even though he lost the award to now Dallas Mavericks player Luka Doncic.

Langford is excited to play alongside Calathes since he holds him in great esteem.

Everyone that has ever talked European basketball with me knows how much I love Quino Colom. He’s the best PG I’ve ever played with and he’s tops in Europe. Nick Calathes will be the best overall player I’ve had on any team. He’s grown so much from the playoffs we played against each other in 2012. I have huge respect for his game and I’m looking forward to building and finding a strong chemistry with him“.