Turkish Airlines Euroleague
June 19, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
2012-13 Club Profile: Panathinaikos Athens
The start of a new era comes to Athens, which enters the new season for the first time this century without the legendary Zeljko Obradovic on the bench. In the past 13 years, Coach Obradovic led the Greens to five Euroleague crowns and the team played the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four last season too. Now the team looks to remain among the European elite with a fresh, new look. Panathinaikos has long been a superpower in Greek sports and first took charge of the local basketball leagues with 12 domestic titles over a 17-year stretch between 1967 and 1984. Despite a dry period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Panathinaikos bounced back to become a top team in European basketball. In 1996, legends Panagiotis Giannakis, Dominique Wilkins and Fragiskos Alvertis came together and secured the first Euroleague title by a Greek team. In 2000 Panathinaikos lifted its second Euroleague trophy in Thessaloniki with a win over Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Greens won it all again in 2002 by upsetting Virtus in Bologna. At home in Greece, its trophy collecting continued with a new string of domestic crowns. Panathinaikos went back to the Euroleague Final Four in Moscow 2005, but eventual champ Maccabi stood in its way. The team was stopped one win short of reaching the 2006 Final Four, but it all clicked in the 2006-07 campaign, which would prove to be one for the history books as Panathinaikos stormed into Final Four, held at the club's home court in Athens, and knocked off defending champ CSKA Moscow 93-91 in an instant classic. Two years later the Greens put their name on the title again in Berlin with Vassilis Spanoulis earning Final Four MVP honors in one of the most exciting finals in basketball history. In a 2010-11 season to remember, Euroleague MVP and Final Four MVP Dimitris Diamantidis shined as the Greens turned away defending champ Regal FC Barcelona in the playoffs, then downed Maccabi Electra in Barcelona in the Euroleague title game and won another Greek championship by seeing off Olympiacos in the finals. Last season the club came up just short in trying to repeat that magical campaign. Panathinaikos lost a tough Turkish Airlines Euroleague semifinal in Istanbul and saw its streak of nine Greek League championships come to an end, even though it did take Euroleague champ Olympiacos the distance. The Greens did at least add to their collection by winning the Greek Cup for the 13th time. Already one of the modern heavyweights of basketball with five continental crowns since the turn of the century and tied for the second-most Final Four appearances (11) in competition history, all signs point to Panathinaikos remaining a perennial challenger for years to come. That means seeing the Greens fighting for Greek and Euroleague glory again this season, backed by tens of thousands of diehard fans who follow the team through thick and thin and are as motivated as ever to spur their team to greatness.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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