The final member of the 2010-20 EuroLeague All-Decade team as voted by fans, media, players and coaches is one of the best clutch players European basketball has ever seen. Led by his class and willpower, Olympiacos Piraeus became the only team to win back-to-back titles in the 2010s. He is the one and only Vassilis Spanoulis!
It is impossible to review the past decade in the EuroLeague without talking about Spanoulis, a natural-born leader who made his competition debut with Panathinaikos Athens. Spanoulis was already a EuroLeague champion and Final Four MVP when he joined crosstown rival Olympiacos and, as the Reds' unquestionable leader, he raised his playing level to become one of the greatest players in European basketball history.
"It's nice to think of having achieved with all the team, the coaches and the fans, together, this big thing for Olympiacos. But with goals and targets, as soon as something is achieved, you look for the next one. Basketball never stops." (one week after winning the championship in 2012)
Becoming "Kill Bill"
After playing the 2009-10 season with Panathinaikos, Spanoulis joined Olympiacos for the rest of the decade - and beyond. In his second season with the Reds, Spanoulis led Olympiacos to the 2012 EuroLeague title. He averaged a career-high 16.7 points per game that season, including 21 in the semifinal against FC Barcelona and 15 in the championship game against CSKA Moscow in Istanbul. He set up the memorable championship-winning basket by finding Georgios Printezis for the go-ahead score with 0.7 seconds left. A year later, Spanoulis had all of his 22 points in the second half to lead Olympiacos past Real Madrid in the championship game in London. Spanoulis was chosen as the Final Four MVP after both titles and was named the 2012-13 EuroLeague MVP, too.
Spanoulis would lead Olympiacos back to the championship game in 2015 and 2017, where they lost to Real and Fenerbahce Istanbul, respectively. He was chosen three times to the All-EuroLeague First Team (2011-12, 2012-13 and 2014-15) and three more times to the All-EuroLeague Second Team (2010-11, 2013-14 and 2017-18) – which ties Milos Teodosic for the most of the decade - among many achievements and accolades.
"Only if you have this trophy in your hands and lift it, you can feel all these emotions passing through your mind, all these years of hard work to get where I am now. I feel lucky and blessed. It is something that will stay on my mind for the rest of my life." (one week after winning the championship in 2013)
Spanoulis was the EuroLeague's top scorer in the 2010s, which he finished with 3,290 points. He had to wait until January 2, 2020 to become the competition's all-time leading scorer. On that date, he passed Juan Carlos Navarro for first place. Spanoulis was also first in assists with 1,250 during the decade as well as free throws made (848) and attempted (1,090).
There are many great moments to choose from, but Spanoulis showed the kind of player he is - a difference-maker - in the 2015 EuroLeague semifinals against CSKA. Spanoulis missed his first 11 shots of the game and had a performance index rating of -4 entering the fourth quarter.
He finished with 13 points, 3 assists and 3 steals. CSKA led 63-54 with a little more than 3 minutes left before Spanoulis scored 11 points – downing 3 heavily contested three-point shots, the final one to put his team ahead for good, 66-69. Olympiacos won the game 68-70 behind yet another legendary performance by "Kill Bill".