The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Greek Basketball Players of all time. This list of famous Greek Basketball Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Greek Basketball Players.
With an HPI of 43.64, Panagiotis Giannakis is the most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 19 different languages on wikipedia.
Panagiotis "Notis" Giannakis (Greek: Παναγιώτης "Νότης" Γιαννάκης, pronounced [panaˈʝotiz ʝaˈnacis]; born January 1, 1959), alternatively spelled Panayiotis Yiannakis or Yannakis, is a former Greek professional basketball player and coach. He is considered to be one of the greatest sportspeople of Greece. He started his senior career at the age of just 13 at Ionikos Nikaias and after noticeable success, he achieved extraordinary success as a player with Aris Thessaloniki from 1984 to 1993, in partnership with Greek basketball's biggest star Nikos Galis along with the rest of the squad, while achieving victory as the national team captain in EuroBasket 1987 in Athens, Greece's first major tournament win in non-Olympic sport which, along with Aris' extraordinary success, cultivated the sport in the country. At the end of his career, he won the EuroLeague with Panathinaikos in 1996 As head coach, he most prominently led Greece to its second European trophy in EuroBasket 2005 at Serbia and Montenegro, where a team of new and talented stars shone brightest under the nurturship of Giannakis. He would repeat the success the next year, acquiring the silver medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan, where the team most notably scored a decisive win against the USA stars of the NBA in the semi-final, which would be USMNBT's last loss in a tournament until 2019. However, Greece's arch rivals Spain would defeat Giannakis' team in the final, as they would do again in the semi-finals of the 2007 EuroBasket. Outside of the Greek national team, he would coach Greek clubs like Aris, where he had the most success as player, Olympiacos, where he achieved renewed success, and the China men's national basketball team. As a player, he was primarily a point guard, but he could also play at the shooting guard position. During his playing career, Giannakis was also widely-known under his nickname of "O Drákos" (Ο Δράκος), or "The Dragon" in English.On February 3, 2008, Giannakis was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors, over the previous half-century, by EuroLeague Basketball's Experts Committee. In 2018, he was named to the 101 Greats of European Basketball list. In 2021, he was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. In 2022, he was inducted into the Greek Basket League Hall of Fame.A true floor general, Giannakis began his club basketball playing career in Greece, with Ionikos Nikaias. After that, he before moved to the Greek club Aris Thessaloniki, where he spent the most important part of his pro playing career. In Thessaloniki, he helped to lead "The Yellows" (Aris) to three consecutive EuroLeague Final Four appearances 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 the Greek club Panionios Athens, and finally a year later, to the Greek club Panathinaikos Athens, with whom he won a EuroLeague championship in 1996. Giannakis was, along with Nikos Galis, Panagiotis Fasoulas, and Fanis Christodoulou, one of the four main stars of the legendary late 1980s Greece men's national basketball team that put Greece on the world basketball map. He was Greece's team captain, when they won the gold medal at the EuroBasket of 1987, and were the silver-medalists at the same championship two years later. Furthermore, Giannakis was also an important member of the Greece men's national team, when they reached the EuroBasket's semifinals in 1993 and 1995, as well as the FIBA World Cup's semifinals in 1994. After his playing career ended, Giannakis was the head coach of the Athenian professional club team, Maroussi Athens, which he led to the forefront of the Greek League. Giannakis was also the head coach of the Greek EuroLeague powerhouse Olympiacos Piraeus, which he led to the 2010 EuroLeague Final, and of the Greece men's national basketball team. Under Giannakis' guidance, the Greece men's national team won the gold medal at the 2005 EuroBasket, and the silver medal at the 2006 FIBA World Cup in Japan, where Greece upset Team USA, by a score of 101–95. He was also the head coach of the senior Chinese national team.
With an HPI of 42.31, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the 2nd most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 52 different languages.
Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo (Greek: Γιάννης Αντετοκούνμπο; born Adétòkunbọ̀; December 6, 1994) is a Greek-Nigerian professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His country of origin, in addition to his size, speed, and strength have earned him the nickname "Greek Freak". He is widely regarded as one of the greatest power forwards and one of the greatest players of all time.Born and raised in Athens to Nigerian parents, Antetokounmpo began playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens. In 2011, he began playing for the club's senior team before entering the 2013 NBA draft, where he was selected 15th overall by the Bucks. In 2016–17 he led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories and became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in all five statistics of total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He received the Most Improved Player award in 2017. Antetokounmpo has received eight All-Star selections, including being selected as an All-Star captain in 2019, 2020, 2023 and 2024 as he led the Eastern Conference in voting in these four years. One of the most decorated players in NBA history, Antetokounmpo won consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in 2019 and 2020, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to win two MVPs before turning 26. Along with his MVP award, he was also named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, becoming only the third player after Michael Jordan (1988) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1994) to win both awards in the same season. In 2021, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to their first NBA championship since 1971 and was named Finals MVP. The same year, he was honored as one of the league's greatest players of all time by being named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.The film Rise, based on the life of Antetokounmpo and his family, was released in 2022.
With an HPI of 40.25, Theodoros Papaloukas is the 3rd most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Theodoros Papaloukas (Greek: Θεόδωρος Παπαλουκάς; born 8 May 1977), commonly known as Theo Papaloukas or Thodoris Papaloukas, is a retired Greek professional basketball player. He was a four-time All-EuroLeague selection, a member of the EuroLeague 2000–10 All-Decade Team and was named one of the 50 greatest EuroLeague contributors in 2008. A revolutionary figure in basketball, as illustrated by his unique ability to come off the bench and alter the course of an encounter, and his uncanny feel for the game, he symbolized the rise of European basketball in the new millennium. Papaloukas started his career in 1995, with his local club of Ampelokipoi, before being transferred two years later to Dafni, and then to Panionios in 1999. His performances with the latter earned him a transfer to EuroLeague powerhouse Olympiacos, where in 2002, he won his first title, the Greek Cup. A year later, he moved to Moscow for CSKA, the club that he would help to regain its past glory. After making a minimal impact during his first two seasons in the Russian capital, he evolved into a major contributor to CSKA's success, playing as a sixth man in the 2004–05 season, both in the EuroLeague and the Russian Super League A. In 2006, Papaloukas led CSKA to their first EuroLeague title in thirty-five years, and thus earning an All-EuroLeague First Team selection and the EuroLeague Final Four MVP award in the process. The following year, he cemented his status as a EuroLeague competition icon, after being named the EuroLeague MVP, before falling short of a second straight EuroLeague title in the championship's final against Panathinaikos. In 2008, he won his second EuroLeague title with CSKA, in what would be his last year in Moscow. In the summer of 2008, Papaloukas returned to Olympiacos, and with them he reached another two EuroLeague Final Fours, thereby giving him a then record of eight consecutive EuroLeague Final Four appearances, a record he shared at the time with his former teammate J.R. Holden. On 12 December 2013 he was honored with a EuroLeague Basketball Legend Award.Papaloukas helped lead the Greece men's national basketball team to a title, EuroBasket 2005, and a silver medal in 2006 FIBA World Championship. He was elected to the All-Tournament Team in both competitions. Papaloukas took part in two Olympic tournaments, in 2004 and 2008, with Greece finishing in their personal all-time best fifth position on both occasions. In 2006, he was named the FIBA Europe Men's Player of the Year.
With an HPI of 39.89, Vassilis Spanoulis is the 4th most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Vassilis Spanoulis (also commonly known as Bill Spanoulis or Billy Spanoulis, Greek: Βασίλης Σπανούλης; born 7 August 1982) is a Greek professional basketball coach and former player, who is currently the head coach of the pro club Peristeri Athens, of the Greek Basket League and FIBA BCL, as well as the head coach of the senior men's Greek national team. In October 2023, Spanoulis was voted the EuroLeague's "GOAT" ("Greatest of All Time") player, in a BasketNews.com poll of EuroLeague players. Spanoulis received 40% of the vote total, while the second placed vote getter, received a total of 14% of the vote. Spanoulis' number 7 jersey, was retired by the Greek EuroLeague club Olympiacos Piraeus, on 17 September 2023. Spanoulis is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball legends that ever played the sport in Europe, and at the peak of his playing career, he took the public's interest in European professional club basketball to a higher level. He spent the majority of his playing career in the Greek Basket League, winning four Greek League titles as a member of Panathinaikos Athens, and three Greek titles as a member of Olympiacos Piraeus. He also won three EuroLeague titles, one with the former club (2009), and two consecutively (2012 and 2013) with the latter. HoopsHype.com named Spanoulis one of the 75 Greatest International Players Ever in 2021. In 2022, he was named a EuroLeague Legend (EuroLeaague's Hall of Fame). He was also inducted into the Greek Basket League Hall of Fame, in 2022.During his pro playing career, at a height of 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall, and a weight of 212 lb (96 kg), Spanoulis played as a point guard-shooting guard, and was nicknamed Kill Bill, V-Span, Greek Lightning, and MVP ("Most Vassilis Player"), during his playing days Spanoulis was named the Balkan Athlete of the Year in 2009, the All-Europe Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, the International Sports Prize's World Athlete of the Year in 2013, and the EuroLeague MVP the same year. He earned a record eight All-EuroLeague Team selections and was voted the EuroLeague's 2010–2020 Player of the Decade. He is also the EuroLeague's all-time career leader in total points scored.Spanoulis first played pro club basketball with Gymnastikos S. Larissas, and enjoyed a highly successful career start. His skill-set earned him a transfer to Athens and Maroussi, where he won the Greek Basket League's Best Young Player award for the 2002–03 season. Following an impressive 2004–05 season, during which he helped lead Maroussi to the Greek Basket League's finals and the 2005 EuroCup quarterfinals, he moved to Panathinaikos, where he became one of European basketball's major stars. In the 2005–06 EuroLeague season, Spanoulis made his debut in impressive fashion, earning his first All-EuroLeague Team selection as a rookie in the competition. After a stint in the NBA with the Houston Rockets during the 2006–07 season, he returned to Panathinaikos and helped lead them to a EuroLeague title in 2009, being voted the EuroLeague Final Four MVP in the process.Spanoulis' transfer to Olympiacos from Panathinaikos in the summer of 2010 marked a new step in his career, given Olympiacos' feisty rivalry with Panathinaikos. Within a young and rebuilding Olympiacos team, Spanoulis not only led the club to a EuroLeague title run in 2012, but he also went on to lead the team to a historical EuroLeague championship repeat in 2013. In the process, he gained another two EuroLeague Final Four MVP awards, thus joining Toni Kukoč as the only players in the history of European basketball to achieve that distinction on three occasions. Under his leadership, Olympiacos reached another two EuroLeague Finals, in 2015 and 2017. In 2017, European basketball historian Vladimir Stanković and the EuroLeague's expert basketball panel, named Spanoulis the "Most Clutch Player in EuroLeague History". In 2020, Spanoulis was named the "Best EuroLeague Player of The 2010s Decade" by the readers of the website Eurohoops.net.Spanoulis played an instrumental role on the gold medal win of the Greece men's national basketball team at the 2005 FIBA EuroBasket. He was one of the main stars of Greece's 2006 FIBA World Cup silver medal team, scoring 22 points in the memorable victory over Team USA (101–95), in the tournament's semifinals. It was however, Greece's bronze medal at the 2009 FIBA EuroBasket, that emphasized Spanoulis' leadership within an injury-plagued Greece national team, and consequently earned him an EuroBasket All-Star Five honor. In 2020, Spanoulis was named to the FIBA Summer Olympics 1992–2020 Dream Team, which consisted of the 25 best players in FIBA Summer Olympics history, since the inclusion of NBA players in 1992, and to the FIBA EuroBasket 2000–2020 Dream Team, which consisted of the 5 best players of the FIBA EuroBasket, since the year 2000.
With an HPI of 39.68, Dimitris Diamantidis is the 5th most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Dimitrios 'Dimitris' Diamantidis (Greek: Δημήτριος Διαμαντίδης Greek pronunciation: [ðiˈmi.tɾis ðʝa.maˈdi.ðis]; born 6 May 1980) is a retired Greek professional basketball player, who spent the last twelve seasons of his EuroLeague career with Panathinaikos. Widely regarded as one of the greatest European players ever to grace the game, he marked his era by being the most versatile player in the EuroLeague, serving as an inspiration to a whole generation of young European stars. Diamantidis is the only Greek player who is a member of both the EuroLeague 2000–10 All-Decade Team and the EuroLeague 2010–20 All-Decade Team.At the age of fourteen, Diamantidis started his basketball career with the youth clubs of his hometown team, AS Kastoria. A year later, he made his professional debut with Iraklis Thessaloniki, and by 2003, he had emerged as an all-around star in the Greek League. He became a member of Panathinaikos Athens in the summer of 2004, with whom he won three EuroLeague titles, in 2007, 2009, and 2011, with the last two coming as the team's captain. Diamantidis' numerous accolades in the premier European club competition include a EuroLeague MVP Award, two EuroLeague Final Four MVP Awards, four All-EuroLeague First Team selections, as well as a record six EuroLeague Best Defender Awards. He is the EuroLeague's all-time leader in steals since the stat was first officially recognized starting with the 1991–92 season. On 1 April 2016 he was honored with a EuroLeague Basketball Legend Award.Amidst a long series of "derbies of the eternal enemies", opposing Panathinaikos and Olympiacos Piraeus, Diamantidis thrived, as he faced Olympiacos every year for twelve consecutive seasons, including in eleven Greek League Finals, six Greek Cup Finals, and a EuroLeague semifinal. He won nine Greek League and ten Greek Cup titles, alongside four Greek League Finals MVP and a record six Greek League MVP awards, as well as two Greek Cup MVP awards. Diamantidis' personal friendship and rivalry with Olympiacos star Vassilis Spanoulis, was at the center of attention throughout six Greek League Finals and three Greek Cup Finals encounters. Diamantidis' self-effacing psyche helped relieve tension between the two powerhouses, when he retired in 2016.As a member of the Greece men's national basketball team, Diamantidis won a EuroBasket gold medal in 2005; while anchoring a defense that allowed just 59.7 points per game. He also scored the three-pointer that sealed the fate of the semifinal game against France, just seconds before the game's final buzzer. He also led that tournament in assists, and was a part of the All-EuroBasket Team. In 2006, he played a pivotal role in a FIBA World Cup silver medal campaign, with Greece stunning Team USA in the semifinals, and Diamantidis finishing as the competition's steals leader. Diamantidis was also a two-time Olympian, as he donned the Greek colours in 2004 and 2008, and on both occasions earned the fifth place of the tournament, which is tied for the all-time best finish for Greece. On the basis of his myriad achievements, he was named the Mister Europa Player of the Year by Italian sports magazine Superbasket in 2007. He was also named the Greek Male Athlete of the Year in 2007. He was inducted into the Greek Basket League Hall of Fame in 2022.
With an HPI of 38.63, Panagiotis Fasoulas is the 6th most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.
Panagiotis "Panos" Fasoulas (alternate spelling: Fassoulas; Greek: Παναγιώτης Φασούλας; born May 12, 1963, in Thessaloniki) is a Greek politician and former professional basketball player. He was selected in the second round by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1986 NBA draft, but never decided to play in the NBA. Considered to be one of the best big men ever in European basketball, Fasoulas became a FIBA Hall of Fame player in 2016. In 2022, he was inducted into the Greek Basket League Hall of Fame.
With an HPI of 35.13, Nikos Zisis is the 7th most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.
Nikolaos "Nikos" Zisis (alternate spelling: Zissis; Greek: Νικόλαος "Νίκος" Ζήσης; born August 16, 1983) is a Greek basketball executive and former professional basketball player. During his pro club playing career, at a height of 1.97 m (6'5 3⁄4") tall, he played at both the point guard and shooting guard positions. He was inducted into the Greek Basket League Hall of Fame in 2022. He is currently the general manager of the senior Greek men's national basketball team. During his senior men's club playing career, Zisis won the 2008 EuroLeague championship, while he was a member of the Russian club CSKA Moscow. Zisis also won nine national league championships, in various European domestic leagues. He won a Greek League title, four Italian League titles, two Russian League titles, and two German League titles. In addition to that, he also won nine European national domestic cup titles. He won two Greek Cups, four Italian Cups, one Russian Cup, and two German Cups. He also won five European national domestic super cup titles. As he won four Italian Supercups and one German Supercup. Two of his club teams, HAN Thessaloniki and Brose Bamberg, retired his team jerseys. As a member of the senior Greek national basketball team, Zisis won the gold medal at the 2005 EuroBasket, the silver medal at the 2006 FIBA World Cup, and the bronze medal at the 2009 EuroBasket.
With an HPI of 33.69, Thanasis Antetokounmpo is the 8th most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.
Athanasios Rotimi "Thanasis" Antetokounmpo (born Adetokunbo; July 18, 1992) is a Greek-Nigerian professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Listed at 6 feet and 7 inches, he plays the small forward and power forward positions. He is the older brother of two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo as well as Kostas Antetokounmpo and Alex Antetokounmpo. He won an NBA championship with the Bucks in 2021.
With an HPI of 33.52, Ioannis Bourousis is the 9th most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.
Ioannis Bourousis, commonly known as Giannis Bourousis (alternate spelling: Yannis, Greek: Ιωάννης "Γιάννης" Μπουρούσης; born November 17, 1983) is a Greek former professional basketball player and basketball executive. He is the general manager of the Greek basketball club ASK Karditsa. During his playing career, at a height of 7 ft 3⁄4 in (2.15 m) tall and a weight of 270 lb. (122 kg), Bourousis played at the center position. Bourousis, who was a two-time All-EuroLeague First Team selection, was compared to FIBA Hall of Fame / Basketball Hall of Fame center Vlade Divac, by San Antonio Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich.Bourousis was on the senior Greek national team that won the gold medal at 2005 EuroBasket in Serbia, and he also played an instrumental role as Greece won the bronze medal at the 2009 EuroBasket. He was also a member of the Greek national teams that finished in fourth place at the 2007 EuroBasket, and in fifth place at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The indoor basketball arena Giannis Bourousis Karditsa New Indoor Arena, which is located in Karditsa, Greece, is named after him, in his honor.
With an HPI of 33.40, Antonis Fotsis is the 10th most famous Greek Basketball Player. His biography has been translated into 21 different languages.
Antonis Fotsis (alternate spellings: Adonis, Antonios, Greek: Αντώνης Φώτσης; born April 1 or 2, 1981) is a Greek professional basketball player for Ilysiakos. He was also the captain of the senior Greek national team. During his playing career, at a height of 2.09-metre (6 ft 10+1⁄4 in) tall, he played primarily as a power forward, but he could also sometimes be used as a small ball center, or even as a small forward, if needed. Fotsis was inducted into the Greek Basket League Hall of Fame in 2022.
Pantheon has 20 people classified as basketball players born between 1959 and 1997. Of these 20, 20 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living basketball players include Panagiotis Giannakis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Theodoros Papaloukas. As of April 2022, 1 new basketball players have been added to Pantheon including Kostas Antetokounmpo.
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