Nikos Galis

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Nikos Galis
Νίκος Γκάλης
Νίκος Γκάλης.jpg
Nikos Galis with Aris B.C.
No. 6
Guard
Personal information
Born (1957-07-23) July 23, 1957 (age 57)
Union City, New Jersey
Nationality Greek / American
Listed height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Listed weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High school Union Hill
(Union Hill, New Jersey)
College Seton Hall (1975–1979)
NBA draft 1979 / Round: 4 / Pick: 68th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Pro career 1979–1994
Career history
1979–1992 Aris (Greece)
1992–1994 Panathinaikos (Greece)
Career highlights and awards

Nikolaos Georgalis (Greek: Νικόλαος Γεωργαλής), commonly known as either Nikos Galis (Greek: Νίκος Γκάλης), or Nick Galis (alternate spellings include: Nikos Gallis, Nick Gallis, Nicolaos Georgalis, Nicolaos Georgallis, Nikolaos Galis, Nikolaos Gallis) (born July 23, 1957),[1] is a retired Greek-American professional basketball player. He was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991, is an inaugural member of the FIBA Hall of Fame[2] and was named one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors, on February 3, 2008.[3]

Galis played the point guard position during his college years, but turned into a shooting guard as a professional. He spent most of his career in Aris, before having a late stint with Panathinaikos. He is the Euroleague's all-time leader in both career points scored and points per game (counting both FIBA Europe and Euroleague Basketball (company) era games), leading the competition in scoring eight times. In the premier European club competition, he reached the Euroleague Final Four on four occasions, three consecutive ones with Aris (1988–90), and another one with Panathinaikos (1994). Galis is also the Greek Championship's all-time leading scorer in both career points scored and points per game (counting all the formats in league history). In addition to that, he holds the FIBA World Championship scoring records for the highest career points per game average, as well as the most points ever scored at a World Championship tournament, which he set at the 1986 FIBA World Championship.

Galis led the Greek national team to a EuroBasket gold medal in 1987, as well as to a EuroBasket silver medal in 1989, earning the tournament MVP honor in 1987, and being elected to the All-EuroBasket Team both times. Following the stunning success of the EuroBasket title in 1987, he won the Mr. Europa Player of the Year and the Euroscar awards the same year. Galis is widely regarded as one of Europe's all-time greatest players in professional club basketball history, as well as one of the all-time greatest players in FIBA international basketball history.[4] He is highly revered in Greece, where he is considered by many to be the greatest individual athlete that the country has ever had. His years at Aris lifted Greek basketball from relative obscurity, into common public entertainment, with Galis being the figure that eventually inspired thousands of Greeks to take up the sport of basketball.

US career[edit]

The child of a poor immigrant family from the Greek islands of Rhodes and Nisyros, Nick took up boxing in his early years, his father George Georgalis having also been a boxer in his youth. He was persuaded to give up boxing by his mother Stella Georgalis, who was terrified each time that her son would return with a new facial injury. As a result, he started playing basketball and attended Union Hill High School in Union City, New Jersey.[4]

After high school, Galis enrolled at Seton Hall University as a college basketball player. In his senior season, Galis saw his scoring average reach 27.5 points per game, which was third in the nation behind Idaho State's Lawrence Butler (30.1 ppg) and Indiana State's Larry Bird (28.6 ppg),[5] including a 48 point outburst against the University of Santa Clara. Galis' coach at Seton Hall, Billy Raftery, would later state that Galis was the best player he ever coached. Finishing his collegiate career in 1979, Galis signed with agent Bill Manon, who also managed Diana Ross. Manon did not have Galis work out with any NBA team.[6] Galis was eventually selected by the Boston Celtics in the 4th round of the 1979 NBA Draft, 68th overall.

Due to a severe injury that he suffered during the Celtics pre-season training camp, the franchise was no longer interested in offering him a contract because Gerald Henderson had taken his place and his injury would keep him out for the foreseeable future. It was then that Galis decided to pursue a professional career in Greece's Basket League. Galis would later be offered NBA contracts by the Celtics and the New Jersey Nets while he was playing in Greece, but he turned the offers down because at the time FIBA did not have professional status, something it did not gain until the year 1989, and therefore Galis would not have been allowed to play for the Greek national team if he was an NBA player. Since playing for Greece's national team meant so much to Galis, he stayed in Greece. Celtics legend Red Auerbach later said that the single biggest mistake he ever made in his career was not keeping Galis.[7][8]

College stats[edit]

[9]

Season Team Competition Games Played Field Goal% Free Throw% Rebounds Assists Points
1975-76
Seton Hall
NCAA D-I
24
48.0
73.0
1.1
1.8
3.2
1976-77
Seton Hall
NCAA D-I
29
51.8
81.9
2.3
4.7
12.9
1977-78
Seton Hall
NCAA D-I
27
52.1
82.6
2.4
4.5
17.3
1978-79
Seton Hall
NCAA D-I
27
57.6
82.6
3.5
3.9
27.5
Career Totals
Seton Hall
NCAA D-I
107
50.0
81.7
2.3
3.7
20.3

Greek career[edit]

Galis made the move across the Atlantic and signed to play with Aris of Thessaloniki, Greece in 1979. Panathinaikos and Olympiacos had also shown some interest in signing the newcomer, but it was Aris' interest that was the most persuasive. His move to the country helped Greek basketball reach heights never before imagined. In 1983, while playing in a game with the Greek national team against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Chapel Hill, Greece's shooting guard Galis, while being guarded by North Carolina's shooting guard Michael Jordan, scored 50 points during the game.[10][11] He played in the 1986 FIBA World Championship, where he led all players in scoring average with 33.5 points per game. In that tournament, he had a 53 point outburst against the Panamanian national basketball team.

Galis next led the Greek national basketball team to the EuroBasket 1987 gold medal. Averaging 37.0 points per game during the tournament, he was named the MVP of the tournament, after scoring 40 points in the final against the Soviet Union national basketball team and its legendary player Šarūnas Marčiulionis for a 103-101 victory.

Galis also led Greece to the second place at the EuroBasket 1989, averaging 35.6 points per game. Galis is remembered for a stunning effort against the Soviet team led by Marčiulionis and its other star player, Arvydas Sabonis, in the semi-final game. He scored 45 out of his team's 81 total points in a dramatic, last-gasp 81-80 victory.[12] The team settled for a second place finish against the ever-dominant Yugoslavian national basketball team.

Aris Thessaloniki[edit]

Averaging more than 30 points per game every season, Galis was the indisputable leader of Aris Thessaloniki. Playing alongside other great players at Aris such as Panagiotis Giannakis and Slobodan Subotić, Galis won 8 Greek Championships (7 of them consecutively and 3 undefeated, in the years 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991), 6 Greek Cups (4 of them consecutively, in the years 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992), and led Aris to 3 consecutive appearances at the European Champions' Cup Final Four (1988–1990). In the one disappointment of an otherwise glittering career with Aris, all three European Champions' Cup appearances ended in defeat in the semi-finals, thus depriving him of the opportunity to shine on Europe's biggest club stage. The team's performances and general standard of play however won the heart of every basketball fan in Greece. Indeed, cinemas and theaters would often reduce their admission prices on Thursday evenings when Aris was playing and the entire country settled down to watch them on television.

After a disappointing season of his team in 1992, Galis was forced to leave Aris.[13] The new president of Aris and the fact that the team was then in decay were the main causes for his departure. Galis, who adored Thessaloniki, insisted about remaining in the club and playing for the team, as he believed that he still could offer much.

Panathinaikos[edit]

Galis with Panathinaikos B.C..

Galis moved to Athens for Panathinaikos and was the captain and the player that led Panathinaikos to a rebirth after the disappointing previous season that found the club in 8th place.

Galis inspired the young players of Panathinaikos such as Fragiskos Alvertis and Nikos Ekonomou and gradually brought back hope to the fans, to the point that Glyfada Indoor Hall was always overcrowded. In his first season (1992–93) that Galis played in Athens, Panathinaikos took second place in the Greek Championship, and won the Greek Cup, the 7th Greek Cup for Galis.

The following year, Galis was the Euroleague Top Scorer (23.8 points per game in 21 games) and passer (4.7 assists per game in 21 games). He led Panathinaikos to the Final Four where they placed 3rd, a success that Panathinaikos had never reached before. He had to be content with being the top scorer in the 3rd-place match against FC Barcelona. He made one of his greatest career games against Limoges CSP at the quarter-finals.

In his third season in Panthinaikos, Galis teamed up with Panagiotis Giannakis and Žarko Paspalj to make a strong effort to win the Champions' Cup. Galis was the player who led Panathinaikos to the Top 16 group, as he prevented the elimination of Panathinaikos by Budivelnik Kiev. He was also the leader of the team in the win against Olympiacos in a Greek Cup game at Sporting Sports Arena. But his career ended controversially on October 18, 1994[14] (a few games after the start of the 1994-95 season), when Kostas Politis (coach of Panathinaikos at that time) chose not to include him in the starting line-up of a Greek Championship game against Ambelokipi. Galis left the court, never again to return to action.[15] In his last game in professional basketball for Panathinaikos against AO Dafni on 12 October 1994, Galis scored 8 points in 35 minutes on the court.

Professional career scoring statistics[edit]

[16][17][18]

Competition Games Played Points Scored Scoring Average
Greek Championship
384
12,849
33.5
Greek Cup
55
1,935
35.2
European Cups
146
4,807
32.9
FIBA International Competitions
(Greek National Team)
169
5,163
30.6
Career Totals
754
24,759
32.8

Greek Championship season by season scoring stats[edit]

  • (Counting regular season only)

[19][20]

Season Competition Games Played Points Scored Scoring Average Club
1979-80
Greek Championship
22
692
31.4
Aris
1980-81
Greek Championship
26
1,143
44.0
Aris
1981-82
Greek Championship
22
828
37.6
Aris
1982-83
Greek Championship
24
869
36.2
Aris
1983-84
Greek Championship
23
948
41.2
Aris
1984-85
Greek Championship
24
891
37.1
Aris
1985-86
Greek Championship
24
944
39.3
Aris
1986-87
Greek Championship
18
715
39.7
Aris
1987-88
Greek Championship
18
651
36.2
Aris
1988-89
Greek Championship
17
641
37.7
Aris
1989-90
Greek Championship
23
893
38.8
Aris
1990-91
Greek Championship
23
813
35.3
Aris
1991-92
Greek Championship
32.1
Aris
1992-93
Greek Championship
26
615
23.6
Panathinaikos
1993-94
Greek Championship
33
622
18.8
Panathinaikos
1994-95
Greek Championship
12.8
Panathinaikos

Greek National Team[edit]

He averaged 33.3 points per game at the EuroBasket 1983, 33.5 points per game at the 1986 FIBA World Championship, 37.0 points per game at the EuroBasket 1987, 35.6 points per game at the EuroBasket 1989, and 32.4 points per game at the EuroBasket 1991. Galis was only a 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) tall combo guard. In every one of the games that Galis played in these tournaments, the entire defense of every opposing team was focused on stopping his scoring outbursts.

Galis' top 10 scoring FIBA rules games with the Greek National Team[edit]

[17]

Points Scored Date Opponents Final Game Score Tournament
53
7/5/1986 Panama 110-81 1986 FIBA World Championship
52
9/10/1984 Poland 88-89 EuroBasket 1985 Qualification
49
7/20/1986 China 111-112 1986 FIBA World Championship
48
1/4/1981 Finland 101-92 FIBA International Tournament
48
11/19/1989 Denmark 113-91 Friendly
47
11/29/1984 Bulgaria 91-84 1986 FIBA World Championship Qualification
47
5/23/1982 Belgium 97-72 EuroBasket 1983 Qualification
46
6/20/1986 Netherlands 104-88 1986 Acropolis International Tournament
46
11/25/1989 Romania 97-77 EuroBasket 1991 Qualification
45
6/24/1989 Soviet Union 81-80 EuroBasket 1989

Scoring statistics with the Greek National Team in FIBA rules games[edit]

[17]

Tournament Games Played Points Scored Scoring Average
1980 Olympics Qualification
4
78
19.5
FIBA International Tournament (1980–89)
28
853
30.5
Friendlies (1981–91)
18
450
25.0
EuroBasket 1981 Qualification
8
225
28.1
EuroBasket 1981
8
161
20.1
1982 Balkan Games
4
97
24.3
EuroBasket 1983 Qualification
9
283
31.4
EuroBasket 1983
7
233
33.3
1984 Olympics Qualification
9
288
32.0
EuroBasket 1985 Qualification
5
178
35.6
1984 Balkan Games
3
89
29.7
1986 FIBA World Championship Qualification
6
206
34.3
1986 Acropolis International Tournament
3
108
36.0
1986 FIBA World Championship
10
335
33.5
1986 Balkan Games
3
117
39.0
1987 Acropolis International Tournament
3
112
37.3
EuroBasket 1987
8
296
37.0
1988 Olympics Qualification
9
254
28.2
EuroBasket 1989 Qualification
4
146
36.5
1989 Acropolis International Tournament
3
113
37.7
EuroBasket 1989
5
178
35.6
EuroBasket 1991 Qualification
3
134
44.7
1990 Acropolis International Tournament
1
4
4.0
1991 Acropolis International Tournament
3
63
21.0
EuroBasket 1991
5
162
32.4
Career Totals
169
5,163
30.6

Player profile[edit]

It has been noted that Galis was not only a legendary scorer, but was also a great play maker and passer. The majority of his points scored came inside the paint area due to his penetrating ability.[21] Galis' midrange jumper was one of his biggest offensive weapon, being able to consistently pull it off under pressure. His post game was excellent as he used his strength and leaping ability to counter his lack of height. Another enormous competitive advantage that Galis possessed was his incredible stamina, which was due to his exemplary physical condition. This led to his being given the nickname of "Iron Man". At the EuroBasket 1987, he was never once substituted out of any game after the second day of the competition, completing 7 games in 9 days.[21]

Retirement[edit]

Since his official retirement on September 29, 1995, and up until early 2006, he has been the owner of a summer basketball camp in Halkidiki, Greece. The basketball camp is listed at the Athens Stock Exchange.[22] As a token of appreciation for his contribution to Greek sport, Galis was chosen to be the first torch bearer in the final round of the Olympic Flame for the Athens 2004 Olympics. Galis entered the stadium at the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony and set off the procession of the flame to the altar.

In September 2007, Nikos Galis was elected as a member of the first class of the FIBA Hall of Fame, which includes the best basketball players in the history of the game internationally. Galis was inducted as a player. Bill Russell of the famous Boston Celtics dynasty was another one of the 16 inaugural player inductees. Galis is also a member of the Eurobasket.com website's Greek Basketball Hall of Fame, inducted as a player. Galis is married to Eleni Panagiotou and he has one daughter, named Stella.

Quotes about Galis[edit]

"If I'm the Devil's son, then Galis is the Devil himself.", Drazen Petrovic.

"I'd love to play in the same team with him so I can pass the ball to him to score!", Drazen Petrovic.

"Drazen is my brother, but I vote for Galis.", Aleksandar Petrovic.

"I have the feeling that if Galis wants to score a basket, he will score, no matter what the opponent does. He is always determined to succeed", Arvydas Sabonis.

"I've seen Galis do things that I have seen neither Lakers nor Celtics do", Bob McAdoo.

"I had given specific instructions on how to defend against the other 4 players. As for Nikos, we just had to sit down and pray!", Vojcek Kricovski, CSKA Moscow coach.

"There is only one way I can think of to stop Nikos from scoring! Lock him up in the hotel!", Roud Harevain, Maccabi Tel-Aviv head coach.[23]

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

[24][25][26]
Galis won numerous titles and awards during his career and had many memorable single game performances. The following are some of them:

College[edit]

Pro career[edit]

Titles:

  • Won 8 Greek Championships: 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
  • Won 7 Greek Cups: 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993
    (In total, he won 15 trophies in his pro club career as a player.)

Personal awards and achievements:

Greek National Team[edit]

References[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Thedraftreview.com Nick Galis Birthplace: Union City, New Jersey.
  2. ^ FIBA Hall Of Fame Class of 2007
  3. ^ "Euroleague official website, Experts decide European Club Basketball's 50 greatest contributors". 
  4. ^ a b Psarakis, Yannis, Fibaeurope.com, Nikos Galis - Europe's Greatest - Ever Scorer,[1]
  5. ^ "Magic Keeps Bird In Hand". Sports Illustrated. 1980-03-13. 
  6. ^ Nikos Galis, Greece, Player Profiles by Interbasket.net
  7. ^ Fiba official website, Tribute to Nikos Galis
  8. ^ http://www.celticslife.com/2011/10/top-5-celtics-that-never-were-5-nick.html
  9. ^ TheDraftReview.com Nick Galis.
  10. ^ Ahistoryofgreece.com
  11. ^ Nikos Galis Tournaments:
  12. ^ FIBA Europe official website on EuroBasket 1989 FIBA Europe.com
  13. ^ Rabotas, G., Nikos Galis, p. 137
  14. ^ Gazetta.gr Ήταν απλά ο καλύτερος (Greek).
  15. ^ Rabotas, G., Nikos Galis, p. 195
  16. ^ FIBAEurope.com Nikos Galis – Europe’s Greatest-ever Scorer.
  17. ^ a b c basket.gr Ονοματεπώνυμο: ΓΚΑΛΗΣ ΝΙΚΟΣ (Greek).
  18. ^ sansimera.gr Νίκος Γκάλης 1957– (Greek).
  19. ^ sentragoal.gr Ο Γκάλης... κρατάει ακόμα! (Greek).
  20. ^ sports.pathfinder.gr Ο Γκάλης και οι άλλοι (Greek).
  21. ^ a b Arbel, Y. ,"Iron Man Galis", November 08, 2006, FIBA Europe official website [2]
  22. ^ Official website of Galis's basketball camp
  23. ^ EuroBasket.com
  24. ^ Hellenic Basketball Federation official website
  25. ^ FIBAEurope.com on Galis' career
  26. ^ luckyshow.org on Galis' greatest scoring games
  27. ^ http://www.shupirates.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=12600&ATCLID=791880

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Dražen Petrović
Mr. Europa
1987
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Šarūnas Marčiulionis