Rick Pitino
Photo: Sport24.gr

Panathinaikos head coach Rick Pitino referred to the mess between Olympiacos and the “Greens”.

Here is what the Hall of Famer coach told reporters in the official press conference ahead of the Greek League semi-finals:

On the rivalry between the two clubs: “People say that one of the greatest rivalries is between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, but I don’t believe that. I don’t think it’s a great rivalry at all.

Great rivalries are built on respect. Great rivalries are when the other team beats you. When we show up we want to kill Olympiacos and they want to kill us. At the end of the game I have the utmost respect for all of Olympiacos’ players and their coaches.

That’s what a rivalry is about. When they don’t respect each other, you have no rivalry, you have anarchy. What happened this year was anarchy.”

On the current situation between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos: “I don’t blame anybody. I have great respect for Olympiacos and coach Blatt, but you can’t have great basketball with what went on this year.

Excuses are a sign of weakness. You need a lot of rules to have great basketball.

You can’t show up in a EuroLeague game with 20.000 people behind Panathinaikos and 12.000 people behind Olympiacos smoking.

Not only are we choking to death. I can’t speak for three days. Rules don’t allow you to smoke inside an arena and have my star player choke during the game.

I’m bothered by a lot of things, but 90% of my six-month experience has been over-the-top awesome. The other 10% I’m embarrassed about as a coach. I hope it changes. My wish for Greece is all of this nonsense to stop.”

On Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek Freak has done so much for Greek basketball and for the popularity of Greece. They love him all over USA. They say it’s because of his Greek background.

He’s so working, so humbling. He’s done so much, but then there’s the flipside like teams not showing up and teams forfeiting that kills Greek basketball and everything it stands for.”