By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
The legendary greek guard Vassilis Spanoulis announced his retirement earlier today (June 26) and it didn’t take long for the whole basketball world to respond, bidding their farewell to one of the most influential players in recent history.
His influence was huge, earning the utmost respect of his peers. He was an idol to the up-and-coming generations. Many youngsters grew up learning from Spanoulis’s games and Luka Doncic was no exception.
It’s been no secret that Doncic picked out Spanoulis as his role model and the Slovenian wunderkind wore numbers 7 and 77 to show it. He didn’t miss a chance to say goodbye.
Spanoulis spent the last decade of his career in Olympiacos during which they won two straight EuroLeague titles and he was a key factor in pushing the team to new heights. And he indebted everyone around him for it, including the club presidents Panagiotis and Giorgios Angelopoulos who had a heartwarming message for the end.
“It’s a moment you refuse to accept will come. That you do not want to experience and even though it is in front of you, you choose not to look at it, hoping that time will slow down. Vassilis, after all, made us believe that it is possible…
For 11 years, the greatest Greek basketball player honored as much as anyone the jersey of Olympiacos and us personally with his friendship.
For 11 years we walked together in the easy and the difficult. We cried, we laughed, we broke out. We dreamed and achieved unique achievements.
With Spanoulis at the front, Olympiacos wrote the golden pages of its history. It won the admiration of Europe and became synonymous with transcendence.
For 11 whole years our leader. Forever Vassilis with number 7
VASSILIS, THANK YOU for what you offered to Olympiacos.
VASSILIS, THANK YOU for what you gave to basketball.
Panagiotis and Giorgios Angelopoulos”
The rivalry between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos is well-known but Vassilis Spanoulis played for both, won European and domestic titles with both and when it comes to him, everybody stands united.
Theodoros Papaloukas had a long message as well.
“Congratulations on all your mythical achievements Vassilis. You managed to overcome your biggest dreams and entice countless people to experience emotions that they will carry for the rest of their lives. You are the most focused athlete I have ever met, a true leader! Nothing is accidental after all. Great joy and honor that we coexisted on the floor and shared moments outside of it. Even greater is the honor of being considered a family! Good adaptation to your new life! It will definitely be full of basketball soon,” he wrote.
Another successful name and a legend in his own right as the most successful American player in Europe’s history, Kyle Hines, had a few words as well for his former teammate.
Other players didn’t fall behind either. Efes‘s backcourt duo with MVP Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin also joined in, as did Felipe Reyes who himself recently retired.
Facundo Campazzo had a story of his own and a “small” gesture by Spanoulis he’ll forever remember.
Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos had the pleasure of working with Spanoulis and his farewell was a special one.
“Where can one truly begin when it comes to Vassilis Spanoulis? Words, in such occasions, are few and far between to express the true greatness of one such athlete.
Vassilis Spanoulis is a legend, a man of basketball who has achieved so much; as much as very few athletes ever have before him. What can one bring first to memory? His accomplishments with the team of Panathinaikos? With the Greek National Team perhaps? Or maybe those with the team of Olympiacos?
Vassilis Spanoulis is the one who singlehandedly changed the modern history of Olympiacos. He is the one who made impossible itself feel possible. He is the one who inspired generations upon generations of young players. The one who has permanently inscribed his name across Greece, across Europe, and across the world of basketball around the globe. More than anything, he encapsulates what it means to be an athlete, to be determined, to be dedicated, to work hard, to remain focused, to never give up.
Personally, I feel awe and am beyond proud to have collaborated with Vassilis. We lived through many special moments together, many instances of joy, over those four years in Olympiacos, as well as the Greek National Team.
I want to wish, wholeheartedly, all the best to him and his family, and even though he will now be stepping out of the basketball courts, to continue to inspire countless young people who are passionate about the game of basketball.
Keep on inspiring us all!”
Rick Pitino, the Greek national team coach who had a huge desire to bring Spanoulis back into the squad’s roster for one last time, didn’t get his wish come true but has got another one for the retiree.
Agent Misko Raznatovic was working with Spanoulis for 17 years, enough said.
Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, the competition through which Spanoulis reached the stars and brought everybody up with him, gave its share in the departure as did every team the Greek guard ever played against.