Panagiotis Giannakis

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Panagiotis Giannakis
Παναγιώτης Γιαννάκης
PanagiotisGiannakis Olympiacos (cropped).jpg
Giannakis, while working as the head coach of Olympiacos.
Personal information
Born (1959-01-01) January 1, 1959 (age 60)
Nikaia, Athens, Greece
Listed height6 ft 3.75 in (1.92 m)
Listed weight216 lb (98 kg)
Career information
NBA draft1982 / Round: 9 / Pick: 205th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Playing career1972–1996
PositionPoint guard / Shooting guard
Number5, 6, 8
Coaching career1997–2018
Career history
As player:
1972–1984Ionikos Nikaias
1984–1993Aris Thessaloniki
As coach:
2017–2018Aris Thessaloniki
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As head coach:

Panagiotis Giannakis (Greek: Παναγιώτης Γιαννάκης, pronounced [panaˈʝotis ʝaˈnacis]; born January 1, 1959), nicknamed "The Dragon", is a retired Greek professional basketball player and coach. He is the former head coach of EuroLeague powerhouse Olympiacos and the senior Greek national basketball team. Under Giannakis' guidance, the Greek national team won the gold medal at the EuroBasket 2005, and the silver medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan. Giannakis also coached an Athenian professional team, Maroussi, which he led to the forefront of the Greek League. He has also been the head coach of the senior Chinese national team.

A true floor general from the point guard position, Giannakis began his pro basketball playing career in Greece, with Ionikos Nikaias, before moving to Aris, where he spent the most important part of his playing career. In Thessaloniki, he helped to lead the Yellows (Aris) to three consecutive EuroLeague Final Fours between 1988 and 1990, as well as to a FIBA European Cup (later renamed to Saporta Cup) title in 1993. In the summer of 1993, he was transferred to Panionios, and finally a year later, to Panathinaikos, with whom he won a EuroLeague championship in 1996. On February 3, 2008, Giannakis was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors over the previous half-century by the EuroLeague Basketball Experts Committee.[1]

Giannakis was, along with Nikos Galis, Panagiotis Fasoulas, and Fanis Christodoulou, one of the main stars of the legendary late 1980s Greek National Team that put Greece on the world basketball map. He was their captain when they won the EuroBasket of 1987, and were the silver-medalists at the same championship two years later. Furthermore, Giannakis was an important member of the Greek national team when they reached the EuroBasket semifinals in 1993 and 1995, as well as the FIBA World Championship semifinals in 1994.

Early years[edit]

Giannakis was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Nikaia, Athens. Ηis parents, Dimitris, owner of a motorbike workshop, and Kalliope, a weaver, gave birth to five boys. Panagiotis is the youngest child of the family.[2]

Giannakis started playing football around his neighborhood. He showed an early inclination to sports, and tried basketball. He began watching the games of a local basketball club, and he was later approached by the coach of the youth team of Ionikos Nikaias, who asked him to join their team.

Club playing career[edit]

Ionikos Nikaias[edit]

Giannakis began his club career with the youth teams of Ionikos Nikaias in 1971. His first coach, George Vassilakopoulos, moved Giannakis up to the club's senior men's first team, from the youth squad, in 1972, when he was at the age of just 13. The club was playing in the Greek 2nd Division at the time. In 1975, the club was promoted up to the top-tier level Greek First Division. Giannakis' exceptional play with Ionikos Nikaias at such a young age, drew the eyes of pro basketball experts on him.

On January 24, 1981, Ionikos Nikaias, led by a 22-year-old Giannakis, played against Aris Thessaloniki, which was led by Nikos Galis. Aris won in a tight game, by a score of 113–114. The game is memorable in the history of Greek pro club basketball, because in the game, Giannakis scored 73 points, and Galis scored 62 points,[3] achieving the 2nd and 4th most points scored in a single game of the Greek League basketball championship.[4] In 1982, Giannakis was selected by the Boston Celtics, with the 205th pick of the 1982 NBA draft.

Aris Thessaloniki[edit]

On August 3, 1984, Giannakis transferred to the Greek club Aris Thessaloniki, after the club paid a transfer fee contract buyout to Ionikos Nikaias for his player rights, in the amount of 42 million Greek Drachmas,[5] which was considered a huge amount of money for a transfer buyout at that time. Giannakis also personally received a BMW car, a sporting goods store, and 8 million drachmas from Aris. With Aris, Giannakis teamed up with Nikos Galis, to form one half of an historic "tag-team" that took Greek and European basketball by storm for the years to come.

His first season with Aris, the 1984–85 season, was a great success. He won both the Greek League championship, and the Greek Cup title. In the final of the latter, Giannakis made 8 out of 12 3-pointers, leading his team to victory over Panathinaikos. And this was only the beginning, as 6 more consecutive Greek League championships, and 5 more Greek Cup titles with Aris were to follow.

With Aris, Giannakis took part in 3 consecutive EuroLeague Final Fours: Ghent 1988, Munich 1989, and Zaragoza 1990. Aris joined the elite of European basketball clubs, but a European title did not come for Giannakis until much later, in 1993, when he won the FIBA European Cup (later renamed Saporta Cup), in the final in Turin. By then, Nikos Galis had left Aris, and joined Panathinaikos, and Giannakis had become the de facto leader and franchise player of Aris.


After 9 years with Aris Thessaloniki, Giannakis moved to the Greek club Panionios, for the 1993–94 season.

Panathinaikos Athens[edit]

After spending a season with Panionios, Giannakis then moved to the Greek club, Panathinaikos, where he played from 1994–96, and he finished his career as a player there. With Panathinaikos, he finally won the EuroLeague title, as he won the Final in 1996, in Paris. He also won the Greek Cup title with Panathinaikos that same year, making it the 7th Greek Cup title he won in his playing career, to go along with his 7 Greek League championships. He ended his pro club playing career in 1996, having competed in 5 EuroLeague Final Fours (3 with Aris and 2 with Panathinaikos).

National team playing career[edit]

Giannakis led the Greek junior national team to the silver medal at the FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship of 1975. A year later, he debuted with the senior men's Greek national basketball team, as a 17-year-old, versus the Czechoslovakian national basketball team.

In 1979, he won the gold medal at the Mediterranean Games. He was also the captain of the senior men's Greek national team that won the gold medal at the EuroBasket 1987, and the silver medal at the EuroBasket 1989. During his playing time with the Greek national team, Greece participated in 27 international competitions. He retired from the national team as a player on August 2, 1996, after taking part in the 1996 Summer Olympics at Atlanta.

Career as a head coach[edit]

National teams[edit]


Unconventionally, the very next year after he retired from playing with the Greek national team, Giannakis started his coaching career as the head coach of the Greek National Team in 1997. He stayed the head coach of the national team for 2 years, leading the team to a 4th-place finish at the EuroBasket 1997, and a 4th-place finish at the 1998 FIBA World Championship.

He returned to coach the national team in 2004, for the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he led the Greek team to a 5th-place finish. The next year, under his coaching, Greece won the EuroBasket 2005, marking the second time that Greece had won the EuroBasket. After 2006, he no longer simultaneously coached on the professional club level and national team level, as he decided to focus his full attention on the Greek national team only. In 2006, he coached the national team of Greece to a second-place finish at the 2006 FIBA World Championship. In the World Championship's semifinal game, held on September 1, 2006, Giannakis' Greek team beat the heavily favored United States national basketball team for the first time, by a score of 101–95.

In December 2008, he ended his tenure as the head coach of Greece's national team, and was succeeded by Jonas Kazlauskas.[6]


Giannakis was the head coach of the senior men's Chinese national basketball team, at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

Pro clubs[edit]

After starting work as a head coach with the Greek national basketball team, Giannakis moved to the professional club level, and coached Panionios, until 2002, when he was then named the head coach of Maroussi. He stayed with Maroussi until 2006, having taken over the team in relative obscurity, and having turned it into the 3rd most prominent team in the Greek League, along with the help of his star point guard, Vassilis Spanoulis, whose playing style and player attributes were often compared to Giannakis'.

On the 3rd of February 2008, Giannakis signed on to coach the EuroLeague power Olympiacos, with a 2-and-a-half year contract, at an annual salary of 1.1 million euros net income. Giannakis also made an additional annual salary of €1.2 million euros net income while coaching the Greece national basketball team.

In June 2010, Olympiacos announced that Giannakis would not coach the team next season. During the two-and-a-half year period that he coached Olympiacos, Giannakis had led the team to the 2010 Greek Cup title (which was the team's first trophy in eight years), to two consecutive EuroLeague Final Fours (which included one EuroLeague Final, and were the club's first EuroLeague Final Four appearances since 1999), and to three consecutive Greek League Finals appearances.[7]

Giannakis was also the head coach of the French League club Limoges CSP, during the 2012–13 season. He became the head coach of Aris in 2017.

Personal life[edit]

Giannakis is married to Eugenia, and he has two children, Kalliope and Dimitris. In 2010, he lost his brother (all four of his brothers died during a 10-year span) before an Olympiacos derby with Panathinaikos.[8]

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

(As a player):

Club career[edit]

Greek junior national team[edit]

Greek senior national team[edit]

  • 1979 Mediterranean Games:  Gold
  • EuroBasket 1987:  Gold
  • EuroBasket 1989:  Silver
  • He holds the record for national team caps, with 351, with the senior men's Greek National Basketball Team, which is also a record for any European player.[11]
  • He holds the record for total Greek national team caps, men's and boy's, with 402.[12]
  • He holds the record, with 5,301 points scored with the senior men's Greek National Team.[13]
  • He holds the record, with 6,202 points scored in total, with the Greek National Team (men's and boy's).[14]

(As a head coach):

Club career[edit]

Greek senior national team[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Euroleague official website, Experts decide European Club Basketball's 50 greatest contributors.
  2. ^ Bekas, Sotiris. Παναγιώτης Γιαννάκης - Αγωνιστής με πελώρια καρδιά (in Greek). Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  3. ^ My name is Giannakis. Panayotis Giannakis.
  4. ^ Greek Basket League statistical leaders
  5. ^ "Σεισμός στην Θεσσαλονίκη, ο Γιαννάκης στον Άρη" (in Greek).
  6. ^ Giannakis era is over. Archived 2008-12-06 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "OLYMPIACOS, coach Giannakis part ways". 2010-06-18. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  8. ^ Η μοίρα χτύπησε για τέταρτη φορά (in Greek). 2010-03-02. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  9. ^ Panagiotis Giannakis - The Greek Dragon.
  10. ^ Τα “κανόνια” του ελληνικού Πρωταθλήματος: Παναγιώτης Γιαννάκης (in Greek).
  11. ^ ΟΙ 10 ΠΡΩΤΟΙ ΣΕ ΣΥΜΜΕΤΟΧΕΣ (ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΑΝΔΡΩΝ) (in Greek). Archived 2014-07-25 at
  13. ^ ΟΙ 10 ΚΑΛΥΤΕΡΟΙ ΣΚΟΡΕΡ (ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΑΝΔΡΩΝ) (in Greek). Archived 2014-07-25 at

External links[edit]