Athens goes crazy for the Greens!

May 07, 2002 by Print
Athens goes crazy for the Greens!

Athens won't stop celebrating the triumph of Panathinaikos anytime soon. More than 2,000 crazy fans were patiently waiting for the arrival of the team in the Eleftherios Venizelos airport. Despite a three-hour delay and the Easter holiday, nobody let the new Euroleague Champions alone. They started celebrating at the Omonia square, then they moved to the airport and their final destination was the Olympic Stadium, the team bus followed all the way by more than 200 cars. Because of the incredible traffic, the new Attica Road had to be closed, and maximum speed was 10 kilometers per hour.

"I am very proud for the accomplishment of my team, but now we have to stop celebrating and to concentrate on the Greek League semifinal series against Olympiakos," Zeljko Obradovic stated.

Greek newspapers, radio and TV stations welcomed the coach of Panathinaikos as the biggest emperor in the history of European basketball, but he steered away from such talk.ays out of that. "I am just a hard worker, who tries to do his best," obradovic said. "I am very happy because I always have the privilege to coach great clubs and great players. Concerning the victory in Bologna, the biggest difference compared to my four previous teams was the unbelievable concentration of all my players for 80 minutes. I never coached such a dedicated team."

Obradovic confessed that he was as surprised as anyone when the Greens really won it.

"This is something I never expected," he said. "So at the end of the final game against Kinder I turned to my assistant coach Dimitris Dikoudis and I asked him: 'What happened, man? Are we still dreaming or this is the true?'"

Obradovic gave special mention to Darryll Middleton, saying that he is one of the most dedicated players he has ever coached.

"At the end of the game he came to me, crying," Obradovic said. "He has been for 14 years on the waiting list, expecting to win a European trophy. And he finally made it. I told all my players that they have to use Darryll as the best example."

Concerning his future, the five-time European champion head coach stated he has no reason to leave Panathinaikos. "I am very happy here," Obradovic said. "I have a contract, so why should I think about leaving? The NBA? No thanks. I am OK in Europe."