Nikolaos Georgalis, AKA Nikos Galis: the man who managed to make his name synonymous to basketball and changed the history of this sport in our country.
Nikos Galis was born on July 23rd, 1957 in New Jersey, USA, to Greek parents from the isle of Rhodes. Although his childhood “love” was boxing, thank God basketball won him over. His talent made all the …difference in the outdoors arenas of the schools he attended on the other side of the Atlantic. In fact, in his senior year he was the NCAA college championship top scorer (averaging 27.5 points per game), leaving the great Larry Bird trailing behind in second place. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics, but an injury kept him away from the magic world of NBA; so he decided to cross the Atlantic and seek his fortune in Greece.
After a “long and rich” career with Aris, in the summer of 1992 Pavlos Giannakopoulos made him the biggest transfer in the history of Greek basketball. Galis left Thessaloniki to transfer to Panathinaikos and put on the “clover-adorned” jersey. The president of Panathinaikos had begun building the “Empire” and Galis seemed to be the best cornerstone. He played two seasons for Panathinaikos, since at the beginning of the third season he left the team and basketball altogether. In those two seasons he celebrated the Greek Cup title with the “Greens” in the “Peace and Friendship Stadium” arena (known to Greeks as SEF) against Aris in 1993, while the previous year he had already played in the Tel Aviv Final Four. In total he has won 8 championship titles and 4 Greek Cup titles, while he has been named Greek Championship MVP four times.
Galis has also had an exceptional career with the National Team. In 168 participations he has scored a total of 5125 points (averaging 30.51 points per game). Winning the 1987 Eurobasket gold medal was the peak of his career with the national team, followed only by the 1989 Eurobasket silver medal in Zagreb. He was the 1996 World Championship top scorer, and also kept the top spot on the scorers’ list in the Eurobasket competitions of 1983, 1987, 1989, and 1991. Throughout his career he played a total of 854 games scored a total of 25,995 points (with an average of 30.4 points per game).