After the victorious finale for AEK Athens in the Basketball Champions League group phase which secured the first place for the Greeks in the standings, there were many journalists waiting for Jordan Theodore to exit his team’s locker room.
The reason lies not so much on his performance (11 points, 6 assists) at the “Queen’s” win by 77-76 over Telenet Giants Antwerp as on the incident regarding the racist commentary against him and his fiancée, made by someone using a fake account, on the Instagram profile of the US guard.
Theodore treated the incident with composure and humour, discarding any thought that it might be representative of the fans of AEK or of the Greek people in general. The former BCL MVP discussed with TalkBasket.net about the issue and also about the future of AEK Athens in the competition.
Q: How do you feel after the incident of the racist assault was made public?
A: I don’t believe that Greek people are racists at all. I think it was just a guy that made an idiot comment. I would like him to say it to my face and then we could have a conversation. I thought it was funny when I first saw it. I wanted to put it on the forefront on my Instagram profile for the people to see and expose what happened. That wasn’t the first comment he made because he had left another one on my page first. He wrote something worse, I deleted it and blocked him. He then left it on Delroy James’s page and I was able to take it from Del’s page and post it the next day.
Q: Have you dealt with similar incidents in the past?
A: I’m trying to ignore them. When you play well against a lot of teams, fans react in a certain way. They love their teams and for me it’s not that serious.
Q: Are you satisfied with the way the organisation of AEK handled it, including your teammate Haris Giannopoulos who expressed his support to you?
A: I didn’t know what the team was going to do with the situation. I’m glad that they have my back and they defended me the way they did, especially for my wife. She is my world. I didn’t think that Greek people are racists. When it happened, we laughed about it actually. We were out, having dinner. So, it wasn’t a big deal.
Q: What did go wrong for AEK in the fourth quarter, almost compromising the whole game?
A: Nothing went wrong. They (Antwerp) are not a bad team. They have some really good players. In the second half, we took our foot off the gas and they were able to get some things going. We made some bad turnovers and tried a couple of forced shots that enabled them to run in transition, which is their game. We managed to slow it down for the most part, but they are a good team. We shouldn’t have thought that the game was over when we were up by 15 points. It’s a matter of consistency and we ought to be conscious of that.
Q: Were you keeping track of the Dijon-Hapoel Jerusalem game as well?
A: No, we just knew that we needed to win because we had the tie-breaker with Hapoel. A win was the only thing that mattered. It would get us the first place and we were able to do that.
Q: In the next round, there will be either another Greek team (PAOK, Promitheas Patras) or Le Mans waiting for you.
A: Basketball is basketball. Each team in the BCL is competitive, especially those who made it to the TOP 16. We know that it’s not going to be easy, but we’re ready.
Q: Does it make any difference the fact that you recently lost to PAOK in Thessaloniki pretty easily?
A: You know how it goes. I’m still new with the team and in that game they hit a lot of three-point shots. I don’t see a team at any level hitting shots like that every night, especially from half-court. It will be a tough game for us, but in the Greek League we already have the tie-breaker. We’re up for any challenge that comes our way.