Panathinaikos captain honors the Giannakopoulos brothers' tradition
The men who built Panathinaikos Athens into the most successful EuroLeague club this century and the team captain who is carrying on their tradition, Nick Calathes, are together at the heart of Guardian of a Legacy, the latest entry in the Euroleague Basketball Insider Documentary Series.
Pavlos and Thanasis Giannakopoulos, who regrettably passed away within the last year, wrote a story of excellence as they guided Panathinaikos to six continental titles, five of them this century. Calathes returned to his grandfather's homeland to win a EuroLeague title with Panathinaikos and learn from the Giannakopoulos brothers about the family values that led to greatness.
"My grandfather was a big part of my basketball success and my career, especially growing up, because he was pushing me a lot and also he was my biggest fan," Calathes recalls. "It's pretty funny how it turned out, for him to come to the States and me now living in Greece.
"The Giannakopoulos family took me in like I was one of their own. They brought me here. Anything I ever needed, they gave me. Pavlos Giannakopoulos was everything to Panathinaikos. The family is what made Panathinaikos who they are today."
Calathes had other Greeks to learn from, like former Panathinaikos captains and legends Fragiskos Alvertis and Dimitris Diamantidis, who also appear in Guardian of a Legacy.
"I have spent in Panathinaikos more than half my life," Alvertis says. "I had the luck to be the last 30 years in this club with a great history, great moments, and I'm very happy that I can still be in the same place that I've been for many, many years."
The Insider goes bowling with Calathes and his friends, and to dinner with some of his Panathinaikos teammates, too. Find out more about Panathinaikos's past, present and future greatness with Guardian of a Legacy!
"It's a legacy of their own," Calathes concludes. "Like Pavlos Giannakopoulos said: In order to reach the top, you need to try. You must have vision, loyalty and faith."
Guardian of a Legacy is the third of three planned films this season in The Insider Documentary Series. The Learning Master, which chronicled how Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown embraced European basketball as head coach of Fiat Turin, was released in November. Symphony in Yellow, which reunited Maccabi Tel Aviv's back-to-back championship teams of 2004 and 2005, followed in February.
Born in 2015, The Insider Documentary Series goes beyond the glare of game nights and digs into the personal stories of the biggest European basketball stars. The Insider cameras capture the intimacy behind the spotlights and provide full access to the protagonists and the people who know them best. Past Insider Documentaries have profiled coaches like Zeljko Obradovic, players like Luka Doncic and Vassilis Spanoulis, and cities such as Istanbul and Belgrade – all taking viewers to the heart of what makes basketball a sport that moves people so deeply.
The Insider EuroLeague Documentary Series exemplifies a commitment to the premium, long-form content on the Euroleague Basketball Originals platform, which was enhanced again this season by the debut of The Journey, an eight-month series that takes fans behind the scenes from opening day to the championship game with their heroes from five different EuroLeague teams.