The press conference for the Diamonds Are Forever tournament took place today, September 9, at an Athenian hotel where the players and head coaches of the four participating teams (Panathinaikos Superfoods, CSKA Moscow, Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv and FC Barcelona Lassa) spoke about the tournament and the Panathinaikos Superfoods iconic captain.
Victor Khryapa (CSKA Moscow captain): “We are very happy that we are here to represent our club in this tournament dedicated to a great player. There is a lot one can say about Dimitris Diamantidis, but it is easier for me to play against him than to talk about him. I wish him good luck in his life away from basketball, and I hope it will be a nice tournament.”
Guy Pnini (Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv captain): “It is an honour for us to be part of such a great tournament dedicated to Dimitris Diamantidis. As my colleague said, we could say a lot about him both as a player and a person, but I think it is better to talk about him after the games. This tournament will be a very good test for us because we will play with very strong Euroleague-level teams.”
Ante Tomic (FC Barcelona Lassa player): “It is an honour for us to be here and represent our club in a tournament dedicated to Dimitris Diamantidis, one of the greatest players in the history of the European basketball. We will have a good chance to test ourselves, and we are excited to be here.”
Antonis Fotsis (Panathinaikos Superfoods player): “I am happy to participate in this tournament for Dimitris who has given so much to this club. I am proud that I was a teammate of his. It feels good when you play with so many great players and top teams. I hope that the tournament will be wonderful and we will all enjoy it. I wish him good luck in the new chapter of his life.”
Dimitris Itoudis (CSKA Moscow head coach): “Obviously, we are honoured to participate in this tournament not only because we will play with great teams but also because it is dedicated to Dimitris Diamantidis. Through his game Diamantidis changed the way we perceive basketball. He brought a whole new dimension to the sport. It is important that we are talking about a player who may not have been his team’s top scorer, but who could pass the ball, help with the rebounds and play for his teammates and the team. It is a great honour for me to have worked with him. I saw his entire professional and personal development from very close. He came to Panathinaikos and became the team’s leader. I think it all begins from his family; they have formed all the elements of his personality. I do not believe that he will stay away from basketball. Congratulations to Panathinaikos for this event.”
Argiris Pedoulakis (Panathinaikos Superfoods head coach): It is a special moment for our club. We are saying farewell to the greatest athlete in the club’s history. The greatest not only for his game but also for his behavior on and off the court; for his loyalty and devotion to the team. He is the one who changed the way think about the game. We will remember this tournament forever, and Diamantidis should stay with us forever.
Erez Edelstein (Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv head coach): “We did not hesitate even for a second to accept the invitation. In Israel the fans love him. When he played at our home arena you could feel that he could speak to their hearts. We are all grateful to him. I just want to ask him one thing: Are you sure you want to retire? If yes, then I wish you all the best.”
Georgios Bartzokas (FC Barcelona Lassa head coach): “I would like to thank Panathinaikos for the invitation. It is a special honour for us not only because we will pay tribute to Dimitris Diamantidis but also because we will have the chance to play with strong teams. I also agree that Diamantidis changed the way we perceive basketball. Good luck in his life from now on and all the best to whatever he does.”
Dimitris Diamantidis: “I would like to thank Panathinaikos for this honour. A big thanks also to the great teams that came here as well as to the colleagues and coaches for their good words. This is going to be a great tournament with participating teams that have many European trophies. It is a great honour for me, but I think the most important, especially in these difficult times, is that part of the earnings will be donated to two charities from my hometown, Kastoria. I have received much love from the fans and I hope that they will enjoy the matches.”