An Endless Love… Spanoulis-Ergin Ataman Partnership

Vassilis Spanoulis… Many basketball fans will remember those wonderful times when he joined the European basketball market with Panathinaikos. Spanoulis, who signed a 3-year contract with Panathinaikos after his return from the NBA, was usually coming from the bench, with the influence of two of the biggest European basketball legends, Saras and Diamantidis. However, in his second year with Panathinaikos and in 2009, when Panathinaikos won all the trophies and closed the season with 4 cups, he was the MVP in the Euroleague Final Four and Panathinaikos was named the Euroleague championship and was selected as the MVP of the Greek Basketball League the same year. it was enough to prove his importance and what a great basketball player he was.

Spanoulis perspective – 2013 SUMMER TIMES

Having spent 3 successful years with Panathinaikos, SPA wanted to turn a new page in its career. According to some, his desire to become a leader in a new team, because he lagged behind Diamantidis and Jasikevicius in Panathinaikos, was taking the path of Panathinaikos’ arch rival Olympiakos in order to earn more money. This move would turn the dynamics in Greek basketball in favor of Olympiacos. Having won 2 Euroleague championships during the 3 years he participated in Olympiacos in 2010 and became the Final Four MVP in these championships, SPA was now at the top of European basketball. In the summer of 2013, with the expiration of Spanoulis, he became a free agent. He was the best player in European basketball because he was the Euroleague champion and Final Four MVP of the last 2 years, and more importantly, he was a winner.

Ergin Ataman perspective-2012 SUMMER TIMES

Ergin Ataman, who had a perfect 3-cup season with Beşiktaş the previous year, was a coach looking for a new page in his career who had to leave the team due to the lack of support and support of Beşiktaş club. At that time, Ünal Aysal, who was newly elected president of Galatasaray Sports Club, wanted to invest in basketball. First of all, he had to get a coach with a career in charge of the team. Therefore, Ergin Ataman, who had a perfect season the previous season and was impressed by the basketball projects of Ünal Aysal, was appointed as the head of the team. first year as coach won the Turkey League championship with Galatasaray and thus gave the next season for the Euroleague tickets for the field team as the material for the transfer Ünal Aysal. Type the guarantee could be done in all kinds of support Ergin Ataman. Ergin Ataman had an extensive transfer list, and Spanoulis, the Euroleague champion of the last 2 years and Final Four MVP, was at the top of the list.

SPA was the pinnacle of European basketball and was a free agent whose 3-year contract with Olympiacos expired. Because the other hand, Galatasaray won the previous year, Turkey Ergin Ataman led the league in terms of material from the Ünal Aysal was supported by an incredible way. Ünal Aysal wanted only one thing: “Success”. It was ready to be sacrificed for whatever was necessary. Realizing that he had to get a winning player to be a winning team, Ergin Ataman turned to Spanoulis for this very reason.

After the season was over, Spanoulis’ manager Misko Raznatovic was going to meet with the leading Euroleague teams one by one. While there were rumors that after the Euroleague’s meeting with giant teams such as CSKA Moscow, Barcelona and Real Madrid, CSKA agreed to $ 10 million for 3 years, the agreement was canceled at the last minute. The fact that the player and manager could not agree with CSKA caused his manager to turn to other clubs, and rumors that Ünal Aysal wanted Spanoulis very much and offered the player a transfer close to the CSKA level were in the news. In the following days, the player’s manager Misko Raznatovic said, “We will not sign anyone without meeting with Galatasaray.” the official release of his meeting with Galatasaray and “Is it possible?” It began to be raised in the question among fans and sports public has an incredible impact in Turkey. This meant that Galatasaray made a generous offer to Spanoulis at CSKA level, which is very difficult to refuse. In fact, Galatasaray fans who received this news were carrying this tag to the first place on Twitter with the hashtag # Spanoulis4Galatasaray. Galatasaray fans were crazy about the player and they were showing their love by sharing videos about the player. Precisely at that time, during an interview given by Ergin Ataman to the fans, Spanoulis is the European basketball’s Messi and our goal is the Euroleague championship, and Ünal Aysal’s public announcement that an offer that would not be rejected had made the fans crazy. The fact that Ünal Aysal, who brought Felipe Melo, Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba to the football team at that time, made such a statement caused the fans to believe in the realization of this transfer. In addition, while Ergin Ataman commented on Olympiacos in the Euroleague draw on July 4, 2013, “They may be the favorites of the group, but there may be changes in the Olympiacos’ staff in the coming days.” His smiling face and the tweet of Spanoulis at the same time saying “New Adventure :)” made everyone think that this was about to be done. And why would a man not move on to a new team, one of the reasons why he moved from Panathinaikos to Olympiacos was to embark on a new adventure and make more money?

However, it was not expected. Olympiacos had to rise to the amount of offers offered by the other teams at the last minute to hold him. Spanoulis’ last meeting was with Olympiacos, and as a result of persuasion talks with the president of Olympiacos, which lasted about 6 hours in a room, he signed a gigantic contract in Greek conditions worth 12 million gross and $ 2 million net yearly net of taxes for 3 years. At the end of that meeting, it was not possible for him to leave that room without signing. Because at that time, Olympiacos fans threatened SPA with various things such as burning down his house and harming his family if he left the team, and Olympiacos made the highest bid he could offer, causing the Greek guard to remain in his home at the end of that meeting. In the photo taken at the end of the meeting while signing the contract, the T-shirt Spanoulis wore was extremely meaningful. The top of the T-shirt read “I am doing work” and stated his loyalty and devotion to the Greek fans. Years later, Spanoulis would admit that he agreed with Galatasaray in principle under all circumstances and that Galatasaray made the best offer (according to the allegations, Galatasaray had offered SPA 1.5 million dollars more than the offer offered by Olympiakos), but after the meeting, his decision changed. “When I passed from Panathinaikos to Olympiacos, half of Greece hated me. If I went to Istanbul, the other half would hate me too. ” In the following years, Spanoulis emphasized that Olympiacos was his home and always his first choice, on the other hand, Ergin Ataman said that he wanted to add Spanoulis to his team every year he was a coach. Since then, Spanoulis has never left his team and has become an Olympiacos legend. So what would happen if this union had occurred? Could Galatasaray not be eliminated by Barcelona in the Play-Offs in the 2013-2014 Euroleague season, and could continue its way in the Final Four or even become the champion? Could Galatasaray, which achieved success that year, continue its investment in basketball and create the effect that Fenerbahçe has had in recent years in European basketball? We can never know these, but it is certain that the excitement that all these news once created for Galatasaray fans will not be for another player for a long time.

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