Ok, “Traitors” is a harsh word as we are talking about professional basketball players, but this is how players that change sides between the two Greek powerhouses are viewed. Vassilis Spanoulis is merely the 13th player that has jumped sides since the establishment of the professional Greek League. Five players have gone from Olympiacos to Panathinaikos, while Olympiacos are “shopping” from their rivals more oftenly as Spanoulis is the 8th player to come from Panathinaikos.
The start was made by Aleksander Volkov who in the summer of 1994 went from Panathinaikos to Olympiacos as the Greens didn’t want to keep him. Later in the same summer, Zarko Paspalj, who had played the previous three seasons for the Reds, left Olympiacos and joined Panathinaikos.
And while such a jump may be relatively easy for foreigners who are not born and raised into the rivalry, up until the year 2000 such a move was unthinkable for Greeks. The first Greek to jump sides was Nikos Boudouris. After two seasons with Panathinaikos he joined Olympiacos in the summer of 2000 and played there for the next three seasons, while he is also in the technical staff of the Reds currently. And as if this wasn’t enough, one of Panathinaikos’ icons, Nikos Oikonomou, with eight years experience with the Greens, joined Olympiacos later that summer. As he said later in an interview the only offers he had that summer, after one season with Kinder Bologna, were from Olympiacos and PAOK. And PAOK were not paying their players at the time so he was “forced” to join Olympiacos since he didn’t have any other choice.
Update: Ian Vouyoukas, former Olympiacos player, moved to Panathinaikos a couple of months ago.
From Panathinaikos to Olympiacos
|Vassilis Spanoulis||2005/06 |
From Olympiacos to Panathinaikos