Greens honored by Republic President

May 10, 2007 by Vassilis Skountis, Athens Print
Panathinaikos team with Karolos Papoulias One day after freshly crowned Euroleague champion Panathinaikos had an audience with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Thursday the team met with the President of the Greek Republic, Karolos Papoulias. The President congratulated the Greens for their fourth Euroleague crown, won on Sunday by beating outgoing champion CSKA Moscow in the final at the Athens Olympic Indoor Hall (OAKA).

President Papoulias, a former volleyball player, hosted all the members of the team, led by president Paul Giannakopoulos and vice president Thanassis Giannakopoulos, at the Athens Presidential Megaron. Tony Delk was the only player who skipped the ceremony, as he had already left Athens due to his mother's illness.

Panathinaikos offered the President a mini copy of the Euroleague trophy, as well as team captain Fragiskos Alvertis's No.4 jersey and a basketball, both signed by all the members of the team.

“We thank you very much for your achievement,” President Papoulias told the team. “The whole nation is proud of you. There are a lot of Greek people who are complaining about the general situation, but fortunately we have some good opportunities to escape from this and to feel happy and proud. You are a team that pushes all of us ahead. You are authentic role models for the young people and a proof of our country's potential. The Mr. Giannakopoulos, Mr. Papouliasbasketball team of Panathinaikos gives a vision and an inspiration to all of us, because you prove that we can fight and we can win in major competitions. Greece has inexhaustible forces and we must have confidence and optimism. There are a lot of famous scientists, men of words and athletes, so you can be the social etiquettes for the whole country. I wish you all the best and I promise to stand by you next year in Madrid, as I did two years ago in Moscow.”

Paulos Giannakopoulos, Zeljiko Obradovic and Fragikos Alvertis thanked President Papoulias for the invitation and his warm words. Coach Obradovic acknowledged his comments about the role of the players and the team as examples for the young generation. "This is the most important thing, bigger than any trophy," Obradovic said. "I am not exaggerating to say that I bristled with his words and the messages he gave. This is the greatness of sports and we have to keep that in mind always.”