Vassilis Spanoulis is probably the greatest basketball player you’ve never heard of. He’s one of the players who Luka Doncic grew up idolizing.
Vassilis Spanoulis is a living legend in Greek basketball history. Appropriately nicknamed Kill Bill for his wizardry with the ball, Spanoulis is probably the greatest offensive hub we’ve seen in Euroleague play this century.
Through the course of a 22-year career, Spanoulis amassed a record number of accolades across competitions. He has 8 All-EuroLeague Team selections, 3 EuroLeague championships, a EuroLeague MVP and an All-Decade EuroLeague Team selection to his name.
After retiring from professional play following 11 years with Olympiacos, Spanoulis is now involved with the Greek national basketball team. His impact on the formative years of some great European talents in the NBA is very clear today. Luka Doncic said it best:
“Playing in Europe, he was my idol. I always admired him. That’s why I wanted the number 7, though I couldn’t get the number 7 cuz it was taken. That’s why I took number 77.”
— PɪꜱᴛᴏLɪɴᴀꜱ¹¹ (@PistoLinas_) February 24, 2022
“I just want to thank him for everything that he’s brought to basketball – not just to me. I think he showed a lot of players how to play basketball, how to act on the court. What’s leadership, and everything else.”
Vassilis Spanoulis talks about how honored he felt when Luka Doncic called him an inspiration
Spanoulis was recently interviewed by Greek sporting publication Sport 24 in terms of a career retrospective. Among the last questions that the 39-year-old answered were about the pride he feels for other European talents.
After praising Giannis to heaven and back, Vassilis Spanoulis made sure to also give Luka Doncic his flowers:
“We’ve talked a few times, okay … I’m incredibly honored that one of the best players in the world, a basketball phenomenon like him, played because of me, he watched me constantly when he was little, he watched my videos, he thanks me for I was there.”
“Okay now what can we say, my children also see him and he is proud of me, I am really grateful I thank him very much for his kind words and I am very, very happy that I was able to inspire such a phenomenon.”