Photo: EuroLeague

Khimki head coach, Giorgos Bartzokas, talked to the latest edition of EuroLeague’s Coaches Corner and referred to his career.

Here is what the 2013 EuroLeague champion with Olympiacos Piraeus said:

On his career as a player and the injuries he suffered: “As a player, I had a lot of injuries, surgeries on my knees starting from 21 years old. And by 28, I decided to stop playing after three or four serious surgeries. It was like my first funeral. It was devastating for me.

I started being depressed because of this. But day by day, I realized that I couldn’t play on the level I wanted because of pain, surgeries, treatment and so on. Coaching came after, and it gave me the hope that I could continue being part of basketball in some other way.”

On his coaching career: “From the age of 20, I had been coaching children’s teams, mini-basket as they called it, while I was still a player. At age 28, I became a coach of small teams in Athens, and for many years, I kept going like this.

I was always serious about it, even if the level of the basketball or the competition was not so high. I was always so serious because it was my passion. I love basketball. Even now, I can watch three or four games per day.”

On being in touch with his friends and former teammates after all these years: “All those kids who played with me then in Maroussi, we still get together when there’s an opportunity to see each other.

They are lifetime friends from the neighborhood, and we were not even classmates. I went to another school. But in the neighborhood we were friends, and basketball was always the main thing in our life.”