"Everybody in the team should be motivated, in order to return to Euroleague's Final Four and the top of Basket League. We were also motivated last season, but with three different squads? You can not build with three different teams, you have to change the motive all the time. Stability is very important, you should be stable in order to build a strong side.
You can't build the motive and the targets if you are changing all the team. Everybody should be working for the same thing, the same target. Telling that 'we want the title, Euroleague, Panathinaikos is the best club' is easy, but you have to work hard in order to do it. Work is not easy, but it gives you great satisfaction at the end of the season, because you know that you worked well since August.
The season is big, I returned to Athens in August 2015 and I am still here, working in the gym all alone. I can't stay out of action for more than a week, there i no off season for me. I am trying to become better all the time, if you have that in your mind and you are willing to sacrifice thing you will be successful. Leave out anything that can turn your attention.
If every player, coach and member of the staff in the club is willing to do so, sacrifice things, work 100% until April, May, June, we will not definitely win Basket League's title but it will sure be the key for the final results. People were afraid when coach Obradovic left, but we managed to win the title in Greece, reach Euroleague's Top 8 and almost the Final Four.
Dimitris Diamantidis retires and many people keep saying that it is the end of Panathinaikos. No, this is not true. Even Michael Jordan retired. After him, Kobe, then Lebron, maybe Stephen Curry in the future. There is always someone else. Still, the first thing everybody in Panathinaikos and Greek basketball should understand, it that Diamantidis was one and only. There will never be another one exactly like him.
He was only one. There is only one Michael Jordan, only one Kobe Bryant, never again. Maybe he will find another great player, but he will not have such influence in the game. Diamantidis was special, Spanoulis is also special. It is hard to tell when we will find a replacement, maybe next season, maybe in 5-10 years. There is always something new in basketball.
We are watching these kids here, at Costa Navarino, maybe one of them could be the new Diamantidis or Spanoulis. There are athletes who are working hard, trying to be better. Nobody knew that Diamantidis would have such a successful career when he joined Panathinaikos. See the list of his accomplishments, who would have imagined it?
Diamantidis is a top level player, nobody in the current squad reaches his quality. He had a great influence in the game. We are teaching the players how to be good in offense, score many points. Diamantidis was not like them. He build his reputation with passing and defense. He was not a great shooter, but scored many important buzzer beaters, like those of Spanoulis against us.
I have never seen a player like him. Everybody worries about the attack, do not want to pass the ball. Diamantidis would be happier with an assist for alley-oop dunk than scoring a 3-point himself. Happier with a back door pass than with his own points. Having such a teammate is very rare, there would never be a player like him again.
Nick Calathes will be our main guard now. Diamantidis is special and it would be different without him in the court. We will definitely miss him, but that does not mean that our team would be worse. If I had to pick one teammate from Olympiakos' current squad, let him be DJ Strawberry. An athletic guard, with much energy and tough defense, we needed him this season.
We do not have the ability to stop the opponents' guards, nobody had such energy, strength in defense like him in the court. I do not want to play along Spanoulis, Printezis, Lojeski, I want to beat them. To be the best, you have to beat the best. Printezis is an excellent player, with Euroleague's titles. I want to win against them and prove that I could be better than them.
When we won Basket League Finals series against Olympiakos in 2013 by 3-0, at my first season, we returned to our hotel and 10.000 fans were expecting us! I have never seen such thing in my life. I went home at 04.00, it took us 2.5 hours to reach the hotel. We could see the building, but not go there because there were so many fans, it was crazy!", said the experienced American power forward at SDNA and Vasilis Papatheodorou.