Dimitris Diamantidis

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Dimitris Diamantidis
Diamantidis 11052013.JPG
Dimitris Diamantidis playing against Apollon Patras in 2013.
Personal information
Born (1980-05-06) May 6, 1980 (age 36)
Kastoria, Greece
Nationality Greek
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
NBA draft 2002 / Undrafted
Playing career 1999–2016
Position Point guard / Shooting guard
Number 13
Career history
1999–2004 Iraklis Thessaloniki
2004–2016 Panathinaikos
Career highlights and awards

Dimitrios "Dimitris" Diamantidis (Greek: Δημήτρης Διαμαντίδης) (born May 6, 1980) is a retired Greek professional basketball player, who spent all twelve seasons of his EuroLeague career with Panathinaikos Athens. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Europeans ever to grace the game,[a] he marked his era by being the most versatile player in the EuroLeague,[7] serving as an inspiration to a whole generation of young European stars.[b]

At the age of fourteen, Diamantidis started his youth career with his home team in Kastoria. Five years later, he made his professional debut with Iraklis, and by 2003, he had emerged as an all-around star in the Greek League. He became a member of Panathinaikos in the summer of 2004, with whom he won three EuroLeague titles, in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Diamantidis' numerous accolades in the premier European competition include a EuroLeague MVP Award, two EuroLeague Final Four MVP Awards, four All-EuroLeague First Team selections, as well as a record six EuroLeague Best Defender Awards. He is the only player to have earned all four aforementioned EuroLeague end-of-season distinctions, even more so in a single year.[c] Diamantidis was voted to the EuroLeague 2001–10 All-Decade Team,[17] and is the EuroLeague all-time leader in assists[18] and steals[19] since the dawn of the Euroleague Basketball Company era in 2000. On April 1, 2016, he was honored with a EuroLeague Basketball Legend Award.[20]

Amidst a long series of riveting "derbies of the eternal enemies" opposing Panathinaikos and Olympiacos, Diamantidis arguably thrived as no other player in history. With Greek basketball's landscape being dominated by the two arch-rivals, he faced Olympiacos every year, for twelve consecutive seasons in countless crucial encounters, including eleven Greek League Finals, six Greek Cup Finals, and a EuroLeague semifinal. His nine Greek League and ten Greek Cup titles, alongside six Greek League Finals MVP awards, and two Greek Cup MVP awards, demonstrate the level of his unparalleled success. It was, however, beyond anything else, Diamantidis' well acknowledged calm, self-effacing psyche[21] that had the most profound impact on a rivalry full of abuse on both sides. He especially contributed to a relief of tension between the two powerhouses, when he bowed out of professional basketball in 2016.[22]

As a member of the Greek national team, Diamantidis won a EuroBasket title in 2005; anchoring a defense that allowed 59.7 points per game. He scored the three-pointer that sealed the fate of the semifinal against France, seconds before the buzzer. His multidimensional contribution was highlighted, as he led the tournament in assists,[23] and was part of the All-EuroBasket Team. In 2006, he played a pivotal role in a FIBA World Cup silver medal campaign, with Greece stunning Team USA in the semifinal, and Diamantidis finishing as the competition's steals leader.[24] Diamantidis was a two-time Olympian, bearing the Greek colours in 2004 and 2008, and earning on both occasions, the fifth place of the tournament, tied as an all-time best finish for Greece. On the basis of his myriad achievements, he was named Mister Europa Player of the Year by Italian sports magazine Superbasket in 2007.[25]

Professional career[edit]

Iraklis[edit]

In the summer of 1999, at the age of 19, Diamantidis began his professional career, when he transferred to Iraklis Thessaloniki. He became a starting player there by his second season. Diamantidis helped to bring Iraklis, one of the oldest Greek teams, back into prominence, after the club had been struggling. With Iraklis, Diamantidis won the Greek League MVP award in the 2003–04 season.

Panathinaikos[edit]

Diamantidis in 2007

Diamantidis moved a big step up in his career, with his move to Panathinaikos of Athens, in 2004; a basketball powerhouse of the Greek League, and also of the EuroLeague. With Panathinaikos, he won the Greek League championship 9 times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014), the Greek Cup 10 times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), and the EuroLeague Championship 3 times (2007, 2009, 2011). Diamantidis had with Željko Obradović, one of the most successful collaborations between a player and his head coach in the history of European basketball.

Diamantidis won several individual trophies with Panathinaikos, such as: the EuroLeague Best Defender six times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011),[26] the Greek League MVP six times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014), the Greek League Finals MVP six times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014), and the EuroLeague Final Four MVP twice (2007, 2011). Diamantidis was also named the 2007 Mister Europa, the 2007 Greek Athlete of the Year, and the MVP of the Greek Cup in 2009 and 2016. He was named the EuroLeague MVP in 2011.[27]

Due to these great individual and team successes, the President of Panathinaikos, pharmaceutical magnate Pavlos Giannakopoulos, signed Diamantidis in 2008, to a 3-year 5.7 million euros net income contract. In 2010, he renewed his contract with Panathinaikos for another 3 years, at 10.8 million euros gross income (€6 million euros net income).[28]

On July 4, 2013, he renewed his contract with Panathinaikos for another 2 years, at a salary of €1.9 million net income per year. On September 2, 2015, Diamantidis announced his retirement from professional basketball, effective at the end of the 2015–16 season.[29] In his last season with Panathinaikos, he was voted the Greek League Most Popular Player.[30] After he retired, Panathinaikos officially retired his #13 playing jersey.[31]

Greek national team[edit]

Diamantidis was a member of the senior Greek national basketball team. With the senior national team of Greece, he won the gold medal at the EuroBasket 2005. During the European Championship that year, he led the tournament in assists, and was selected to the All-Tournament Team. In the tournament semifinals against the French national team, Diamantidis hit a game-winning three-point shot, with Greece trailing by a score of 66–64, at the end of the game, to give Greece a 67–66 victory, and send them to the European Championship's final game.

Diamantidis went on to win the silver medal with Greece at the 2006 FIBA World Cup in Japan. In the semifinal, he was a key factor in Greece's historic 101–95 victory against Team USA, with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, facing the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard. The defeat suffered by the United States team is the only one during Mike Krzyzewski's second era (2005–2016), as the latter had an undefeated record in all major international competitions since then. Coach Krzyzewski, in a press conference during the 2014 FIBA World Cup, stated: "2006, that's a lesson we learned. The Greek Team taught us (Team USA) how to play internationally."[32]

Diamantidis was on the Greek team that participated at the EuroBasket 2003, and got the fifth place, after beating Serbia and Montenegro, by a score of 64–72. He was also a member of the Greek national team at the EuroBasket 2007, where Greece took the fourth place, after losing to Lithuania, by a score of 69–78, in a game in which Diamantidis had 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. As part of the Greek national team, he also won the silver medal at the 2001 Mediterranean Games, and the gold medal at the 2006 Stanković Continental Champions' Cup. He also won seven Acropolis Tournaments, being the tournament's MVP twice, in 2005 and 2006.

On September 4, 2010, after Greece's elimination in the Eighth-Finals of the 2010 FIBA World Championship, at the hands of Spain (by a score of 80–72), Diamantidis announced his immediate retirement from the Greek National Team. He had 16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks in his last game with Greece's national team. He finished his career bearing the Greek flag, having played in 124 games, and having scored 760 points, averaging 6.13 points per game.

Summer Olympic Games[edit]

Diamantidis was also a member of Greece's national team that competed at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, which were held in Athens, Greece. He was also selected to play on Greece's national team for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, in Beijing, China. Greece finished in fifth place in both tournaments, losing both times to Argentina in the quarterfinals.

Player profile[edit]

As a left-handed player, Diamantidis played as a point guard, shooting guard, and small forward. In the Greek national team, his primary position was small forward, being utilized as a point forward. He was primarily a pass first play-maker with outstanding vision, and an excellent three point shooter, both in spot up situations and off the dribble. He liked to post up smaller point guards. Gifted with a tremendous wingspan for his height (2.16 m or 7'1"), and a unique feel for positioning, he was generally considered to be one of the best defensive players ever to play in the EuroLeague,[33] having won the EuroLeague Best Defender award in five consecutive seasons, and once again, two years later.

As demonstrated by numerous game-changing actions in crucial situations, Diamantidis was considered to be one of the biggest decision makers and clutch players in European basketball history.[34]

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold  Career high

Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.

Denotes seasons in which Diamantidis won the EuroLeague
Led the league

EuroLeague[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2004–05 Panathinaikos 25 20 27.4 .544 .467 .709 3.7 3.1 2.0 .6 8.5 12.5
2005–06 23 22 30.1 .492 .269 .785 4.5 2.9 2.3 .8 8.7 13.1
2006–07 24 24 29.1 .489 .460 .780 3.9 3.9 2.2 .6 8.9 14.3
2007–08 19 19 30.9 .484 .435 .769 5.3 3.3 1.8 .7 8.5 15.1
2008–09 21 12 27.3 .486 .441 .863 4.4 3.1 1.5 .5 8.5 14.0
2009–10 12 9 26.7 .559 .516 .738 2.9 3.3 1.5 .3 9.4 13.7
2010–11 22 21 30.5 .433 .370 .872 3.9 6.2 1.6 .1 12.5 18.5
2011–12 23 21 30.0 .448 .425 .882 3.7 4.8 1.5 .5 11.5 16.4
2012–13 27 25 31.5 .368 .315 .712 3.4 5.8 1.4 .4 8.1 13.1
2013–14 29 27 31.2 .324 .283 .763 2.4 6.2 1.4 .1 8.9 12.8
2014–15 27 27 27.3 .410 .379 .814 2.3 5.9 .9 .3 8.0 12.1
2015–16 26 1 21.2 .459 .376 .827 2.3 4.2 .8 .2 7.2 10.3
Career 278 228 28.7 .442 .375 .795 3.5 4.5 1.6 .4 9.0 13.7

Awards and honors[edit]

Club career[edit]

Greek national team[edit]

Individual[edit]

Other[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fibaeurope.com, David Blatt quotes following the 2011 Euroleague final
  2. ^ Euroleague.net, Diamantidis makes history with 1000 assists
  3. ^ Eurohoops.net, Milos Teodosic: So what if we didn’t speak to each other? He’s a huge player
  4. ^ Sdna.gr, Sergio Scariolo: Keep Diamantidis in basketball forever
  5. ^ Sdna.gr, James Gist: Diamantidis one of the greatest ever
  6. ^ Ethnos.gr, European greats pay tribute to Diamantidis
  7. ^ Euroleague.net, Lawlor, Frank - Anticipating a milestone in Munich
  8. ^ Youtube.com, Giannis Antetokounmpo: My idol is Dimitris Diamantidis
  9. ^ Eurohoops.net, Thomas Heurtel: Hope I will manage to be like Diamantidis
  10. ^ Sdna.gr, Mindaugas Kuzminskas: Can't wait my last match against Diamantidis
  11. ^ Pamesports.gr, Joffrey Lauvergne: Diamantidis, my favorite player
  12. ^ Sportando.com, Luigi Lamonica: Diamantidis deserves to be among the Euroleague legends
  13. ^ Euroleague.net, Interviews - Dimitris Diamantidis
  14. ^ Euroleague.net, MVP Diamantidis heads 2010-11 All-Euroleague First Team
  15. ^ Euroleague.net, Diamantidis is MVP of the Final Four
  16. ^ Euroleague.net, Dimitris Diamantidis wins sixth Best Defender Trophy
  17. ^ Euroleague.net profile as All-Decade Team member
  18. ^ Euroleague.net, Official statistics - All-time assists leaders
  19. ^ Euroleague.net, Official statistics - All-time steals leaders
  20. ^ Euroleague.net, Diamantidis celebrated as Euroleague basketball legend
  21. ^ Draftexpress.com, Euroleague: Who's hot
  22. ^ Eurohoops.net, Dimitris Diamantidis: I am blessed… thank you
  23. ^ FIBA.com, FIBA EuroBasket 2005 assists leaders
  24. ^ FIBA.com, 2006 FIBA World Championship steals leaders
  25. ^ Fibaeurope.com, Mister Europa 2007
  26. ^ Euroleague.net Dimitris Diamantidis wins sixth Best Defender Trophy.
  27. ^ Euroleague.net MVP Diamantidis heads 2010–11 All-Euroleague First Team.
  28. ^ Talkbasket.net - Panathinaikos keep their captain Diamantidis.
  29. ^ Sportando.com, Diamantidis announces he'll retire after this upcoming season
  30. ^ Ο Δ. Διαμαντίδης πιο δημοφιλής παίκτης της Basket League ΣΚΡΑΤΣ (Greek).
  31. ^ Diamantidis’ jersey retired.
  32. ^ Coach Mike Krzyzewski: "The Greek Team taught us how to play internationally". Barcelona: FIBA. 9 September 2014. Event occurs at 14 min 27 sec. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  33. ^ Euroleague.net, Dimitris Diamantidis wins sixth Best Defender Trophy.
  34. ^ Sdna.gr, Sergio Scariolo: Keep Diamantidis in basketball forever.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Spain Jorge Garbajosa
Mr. Europa
2007
Succeeded by
Spain Ricky Rubio