Vassilis Spanoulis: Just a step before challenging the greatest Greek legend of all time
The reigning legend: Nick Galis
Greeks have become a force to be reckoned with in basketball because of the achievements of one man: Nick Galis. It is not at all a usual process anywhere in the world to christen a stadium after an athlete while they are still alive. This is the greatest honor for any player and, 99% of the time, it is given after the honored namesake has deceased (and be dead for quite a while at that!).
Yet, this name means so much for his compatriots that the Olympic Indoor Basketball Court in Athens has been named after him in 2016, while he was still just 59 years old! Furthermore, he has been awarded the title of the greatest Hellene Athlete of all time. Not to mention of course that he is the first and only Greek to be admitted to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. A distinction dreamed of by any basketball player in the business…
The challenger: Vassilis Spanoulis
It has been 25 years since Galis retired and his legend is now threatened. Vassilis Spanoulis, still active at the highest of levels playing for Olympiacos BC in Euroleague basketball, has already matched or surpassed most of Nick’s achievements. Where to begin?
- He is the best ever scorer in Euroleague with 4,309 points toping none other than Juan Carlos Navarro. And the meter is still counting.
- He is the best passer with 1,549 assists and he is still helping his co-players score. It is an achievement worth even more as he clinched this title from yet another Greek, Dimitris Diamantidis.
- He has been voted in the top 5 that ever played in his position in the world 8 times.
- He has also been voted as one of the 10 best players of the decade.
- He broke Galis’ record of 5,200 points in the Hellenic Basketball League from the time it became professional.
- He has been awarded the title of the MVP of the Final Four twice.
- He is the all-time best in the Tendex system that rates the efficiency of basketballers, with 4023 points.
The list of achievements for Kill Bill is endless. The above are just to name a few.
Only one record remains to be broken and it still holds water as “unbeatable”. 4,894 points is the number attributed to Nikolaos Georgalis (as is his full name) as the top Greek scorer for all European Cups. At this time the relevant number for VSpan (a nickname earned when he was playing for the Houston Rockets) is 4,512. There are still at least 24 games to play for the regular season and probably another 5 during the playoffs. That’s about 12.5 points per game. Do you think that King Bill will be able to make the scores and break the record? Stay tuned to our news updates. We will let you know if and when this happens.
Is it really a contest?
In the hearts and minds of the Greeks, in all likelihood Galis will always be the best. He singlehandedly took an entire country’s basketball scene from a status well below average and brought it up to the top of the world. He is the one who made youngsters like Kill Bill go to basketball courts and practice. He is the one who forced the issue of funding from major sponsors to pour in. He is the one that brought in major television coverage. To top it all up, he was the one that lead the campaign that earned the Hellenic National Basketball Team their first title of Champions of Europe.
On the other hand, if it wasn’t for Spanoulis keeping up the standards, Greek basketball may have floundered back to obscurity. According to all rights, he will most probably be awarded the title of the best European player of all time after he retires and it is more than probable that there will be a stadium named after him as well. He is the one that lead the campaign that defeated Dream Team and played in the finals of the World Cup against Spain.
For the compatriots of both it is a similar contest like the one between Michael Jordan and Lebron James. For both comparisons the jury is still out. In any case it is a story well worth monitoring and betting on the outcome by opening an original betting account that will allow you to support your predictions at the best odds without limits.