One of the greatest legends in modern Greek sports, Nikos Galis, was honored by the City of Athens in a pre-game ceremony before the Euroleague Basketball title game between Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow at OAKA arena in Athens on Sunday night. One of the greatest scorer's in European basketball history, the 50-year-old Galis is considered one of the icons who helped popularize basketball in Greece in the 1980s. Although born and raised in the United States, Galis returned to his family's homeland for a career that was crowned by his performance as top scorer at the 1987 European Championship, leading the Greek national team to its first-ever gold medal. After the ceremony, Galis had these comments:
"I hope we all see an exciting Final, and may the best team win, although we Greeks all would love Panathinaikos to lift the trophy. The Greens have a team that combines quality and experience, while their fans are expected to give them a big boost. Both [Papaloukas and Diamantidis] are magnificent players, and real gems for Greek basketball. They have almost the same style of play, they play for the team, and the duel between them is eagerly awaited."
"I was moved by the Mayor’s initiative, and after such a welcome and an ovation, I feel really blessed that I took up sports. It is hard for me to express my feelings after such a great honor. Thanks to the City of Athens for the privilege and to the fans for their applause. It is difficult for us athletes to realize that it has been such a long time since we retired. It has been 13 years, and I feel as if it was yesterday. I felt like putting on my gear and getting on the floor to play!"