The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague has a new all-time scoring king, none other than Vassilis Spanoulis of Olympiacos Piraeus! After tying the record with a hanging layup late in the game, Spanoulis swished a step-back triple with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left to give him 4,155 points for his career, surpassing the previous all-time scoring mark of 4,152 set by Juan Carlos Navarro of FC Barcelona. Spanoulis, 37, would score for 14 points in the game and a career total of 4,157, the most by any player in EuroLeague history and a number that he stands to keep raising with each passing game.
"It's finished, OK, but I wanted this to happen winning the game, so it's a bad taste at the end of the day," Spanoulis said after Olympiaco lost at home to Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 87-96. "For sure, I want to thank to all my coaches and teammates, the presidents and everybody who trusted me all these years. Thank you very much to all of them."
The new scoring record adds to a long list of accolades that Spanoulis, a three-time EuroLeague champion, has compiled. He lifted his first EuroLeague trophy with Panathinaikos Athens in 2009 and then led Olympiacos to back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013 as the only repeat champion this decade. Spanoulis was voted the Final Four MVP on all three occasions, tying Toni Kukoc for that honor, and the full-season MVP in 2012-13.
Playing in his 14th season in the competition, Spanoulis is EuroLeague's career leader in several statistical categories. Earlier this season, he passed Navarro to have the highest accumulated performance index rating ever, which now stands at 3,941. He is also the all-time EuroLeague leader in assists, with 1,483, and in free throws made, with 1,078. On Thursday, he also moved up to second all-time with 473 three-pointers, behind only Navarro's 623.
Remarkably enough, Spanoulis did not even debut in the EuroLeague until age 23, after six seasons as a pro with Larissa and Maroussi in his native Greece. After averaging 11 points as a rookie with Panathinaikos in 2005-06, he spent one season in the NBA before returning to the Greens for three more. In 2008-09, he averaged a team-high 15.5 points as Panathinaikos beat CSKA Moscow 73-71 in the championship game. Three years later, he led all Final Four scorers with 18.0 points per game and dished the game-winning assist to Georgios Printezis as Olympiacos defeated CSKA at the buzzer 61-62 after a 19-point comeback in the championship game's last 12 minutes. At the 2013 Final Four, Spanoulis again led all Final Four scorers with 15.0 per game, including 22 as Olympiacos rallied from 17 behind in the first half to defeat Real Madrid 100-88 and repeat as champion.
Spanoulis has been voted by fans and media to the All-EuroLeague team on eight occasions, more than any other player. He was on the first team in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2014-15 and on the second team in 2005-06, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2017-18. He is tied with four other players, including Navarro, Ante Tomic, Nando De Colo and Nikola Mirotic, for the most MVP of the Month honors, three, which he won in February 2012, November 2012 and October of 2014.