Panagiotis Giannakis

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Panagiotis Giannakis
Παναγιώτης Γιαννάκης
PanagiotisGiannakis Olympiacos (cropped).jpg
Giannakis, while working as the head coach of the Olympiacos.
Personal information
Born (1959-01-01) January 1, 1959 (age 60)
Nikaia, Attica, Athens, Greece
Nationality Greek
Listed height 6 ft 3.75 in (1.92 m)
Listed weight 216 lb (98 kg)
Career information
NBA draft 1982 / Round: 9 / Pick: 205th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Playing career 1972–1996
Position Point guard / Shooting guard
Career history
As player:
1972–1984 Ionikos Nikaias
1984–1993 Aris Thessaloniki
1993–1994 Panionios
1994–1996 Panathinaikos
As coach:
1997–1998 Greece
2001–2002 Panionios
2002–2006 Maroussi
2004–2008 Greece
2008–2010 Olympiacos
2012–2013 Limoges CSP
2013–2014 China
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Panagiotis Giannakis (Greek: Παναγιώτης Γιαννάκης, pronounced [panaˈʝotis ʝaˈnacis]; born January 1, 1959), nicknamed "The Dragon", is a retired Greek professional basketball player and a current professional basketball coach of continental reputation. He is the former head coach of the Euroleague powerhouse Olympiacos, and the Greek National Basketball Team. Under Giannakis' guidance, the Greek National team won the gold medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 2005, and the silver medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan. Giannakis also coached an Athenian professional team, Maroussi, which he led to the forefront of Greek League basketball. He has also been the head coach of the Chinese National Team.

A true floor general from the point guard position, Giannakis began his pro career in Greece with Ionikos Nikaias, before moving to Aris, where he spent the major part of his career. In Thessaloniki, he helped to lead the Yellows (Aris) to three consecutive Euroleague Final Fours between 1988 and 1990, as well as to a FIBA European Cup title in 1993. In the summer of 1993, he was transferred to Panionios, and finally a year later, to Panathinaikos, with whom he won a Euroleague championship in 1996. On February 3, 2008, Giannakis was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors over the previous half-century by the Euroleague Basketball Experts Committee.[1]

Giannakis was, along with Nikos Galis, one of the stars of the legendary Greek National Team that put Greece on the world basketball map. He was their captain when they won the FIBA EuroBasket of 1987, and were the silver-medalists at the same championship two years later. Furthermore, Giannakis was an important member of the national team when they reached the FIBA EuroBasket semifinals in 1993 and 1995, as well as the FIBA World Championship semifinals in 1994.

Giannakis is also a member of the website's Greek Basketball Hall of Fame, inducted as a player.

Early years

Giannakis was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Nikaia, Athens. Ηis parents, Dimitris, owner of a motorbike workshop, and Kalliope, a weaver, gave birth to five boys. Panagiotis is the youngest child of the family.[2]

Giannakis started playing football around his neighborhood. He showed an early inclination to sports, and tried basketball. He began watching the games of a local basketball club, and he was later approached by the coach of the youth team of Ionikos Nikaias, who asked him to join their team.

Playing career

First steps

Giannakis began his career with the Ionikos Nikaias youth team in 1971. His first coach, Giorgos Vassilakopoulos, moved him up to the club's senior men's first team, from the youth squad, at the age of just 13. His exceptional play at such a young age, drew the eyes of pro basketball experts on him. In 1982, he was selected by the Boston Celtics, with the 205th pick of the 1982 NBA Draft.

Greek League

On January 24, 1981, Ionikos Nikaias led by a 22-year-old Giannakis played against Aris Thessaloniki of Nikos Galis. Aris won in a tight game by 113-114. The game is memorable in the history of Greek basketball, because Giannakis scored 73, and Galis 62 points,[3] achieving the 2nd and 4th most points scored in one game of the Greek League basketball championship.[4]

On August 3, 1984, Giannakis transferred to the Greek club Aris Thessaloniki, after the club paid a transfer fee to Ionikos Nikaias for his rights, in the amount of 40 million Greek Drachmas,[5] which was considered a huge amount of money for a transfer at that time. There, he teamed up with Nikos Galis, to form one half of an historic "tag-team" that took Greek and European basketball by storm for the years to come.

His first season with Aris, the 1984-85 season, was a great success. He won both the Greek League championship, and the Greek Cup championship. In the final of the latter, Giannakis made 8 out of 12 3-pointers, leading his team to victory over Panathinaikos. And this was only the beginning, as 6 more consecutive Greek League championships, and 5 more Greek Cup championships with Aris were to follow.

After 9 years with Aris, Giannakis moved to the Greek club Panionios, for the 1993-94 season. He stayed there for a year, and then moved again to another Greek club, Panathinaikos, where he played from 1994–96, and he finished his career as a player there.

European cup competitions

With Aris, Giannakis took part in 3 consecutive Euroleague Final Fours: Ghent (1988), Munich (1989), and Saragosa (1990). Aris joined the elite of European basketball clubs, but a European title did not come for Giannakis until much later, in 1993, when he won the FIBA European Cup, in Torino. By then, Nikos Galis had left Aris, and joined Panathinaikos, and Giannakis had become the de facto leader and franchise player of Aris.

In 1994, Giannakis moved to Panathinaikos, where he finally won the Euroleague title in 1996, in Paris. He also won the Greek Cup championship with Panathinaikos that same year, making it the 7th Greek Cup championship he won in his playing career, to go along with his 7 Greek League championships. He ended his pro playing career having competed in 5 Euroleague Final Fours (3 with Aris and 2 with Panathinaikos).

Greek national team

Giannakis led the Greek junior national team to the silver medal at the FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship of 1975. A year later, he debuted with the senior men's Greek national basketball team, as a 17-year-old, versus the Czechoslovakian national basketball team.

In 1979, he won the gold medal at the Mediterranean Games. He was also the captain of the senior men's Greek national team that won the gold medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 1987, and the silver medal at the FIBA EuroBasket 1989. During his playing time with the Greek national team, Greece participated in 27 international competitions. He retired from the national team as a player on August 2, 1996, after taking part in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games at Atlanta.

Career as a head coach

Unconventionally, the very next year after he retired from the Greek national team, Giannakis started his coaching career as the head coach of the Greek National Team in 1997. He stayed the head coach of the national team for 2 years, leading the team to a 4th place finish at the FIBA EuroBasket 1997, and a 4th place finish at the 1998 FIBA World Championship.

He then moved to the professional club level, and coached Panionios, until 2002, when he was then named the head coach of Maroussi. He stayed with Maroussi until 2006, having taken over the team in relative obscurity, and having turned it into the 3rd most prominent team in the Greek League, along with the help of his star point guard Vassilis Spanoulis, whose playing style and player attributes were often compared to Giannakis'.

He returned to coach the national team in 2004, for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, where he led the Greek team to a 5th place finish. The next year, under his coaching, Greece won the FIBA EuroBasket 2005 competition for the second time in its history. After 2006, he no longer simultaneously coached on the professional club level and national team level, as he decided to focus his full attention on the Greek national team only. In 2006, he coached the national team of Greece to a second place finish at the 2006 FIBA World Championship. In the World Championship's semifinal game, held on September 1, 2006, Giannakis' Greek team beat the heavily favored United States national basketball team for the first time, by a score of 101-95.

On the 3rd of February 2008, Giannakis signed on to coach the Euroleague power Olympiacos, with a 2-and-a-half year contract, at an annual salary of 1.1 million euros net income. Giannakis also made an additional annual salary of €1.2 million euros net income while coaching the Greek national basketball team. In December 2008, he ended his tenure as the head coach of Greece's national team, and was succeeded by Jonas Kazlauskas.[6] In June 2010, Olympiacos announced that Giannakis would not coach the team next season. During the two and a half year period, Giannakis guided the team to its first trophy in eight years, winning the 2010 Greek Cup, and he also led the team to two consecutive Euroleague Final Fours (in one of them the team reached the Euroleague Final), for the first time since 1999, and to three consecutive Greek League finals.[7]

Giannakis was also the head coach of the French League club Limoges CSP during the 2012-13 season, and the senior men's Chinese national basketball team at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

Personal life

Giannakis is married to Eugenia, and he has two children, Kalliope and Dimitris. In 2010, he lost his brother (all of his four brothers died during a 10-year span) before an Olympiacos derby with Panathinaikos.[8]

Awards and accomplishments

(As a player):

Club career

Greek national team

(As a head coach):

Club career

Greek national team


External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Lithuania Antanas Sireika
FIBA EuroBasket
Winning Coach

Succeeded by
Israel David Blatt