Nick Galis is the Greek Michael Jordan, if you will. The player that changed the course of basketball history in Greece, propelling it to the status of a national sport with his feats, received a rare award reserved for the few, the legends of the game can boast.
He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. In his enshrinement speech Galis thanked all who had supported him though out his career, and spoke of the deep love he developed after leaving the US for his parents’ country, Greece.
He spoke of the privilege he had over his long and decorated career in Europe (Aris and Panathinaikos) to have played against some of the best players. He is considered the greatest player to have played the game in Greece. Galis singlehandedly took Greece to the 1987 Eurobasket Championship finals, where the impossible happened, the home side beat the mighty then Soviet Union to lift the trophy.
After playing basketball in the United States for Seton Hall and being drafted in the fourth round of the 1979 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, Galis didn’t continue in the NBA, but instead, as he said in his speech chose to cross over to Europe and his parents’ mother land, as the financial offers were very lucrative. That was as close as Galis ever came to playing in the NBA.
Instead, Galis became one of the greatest FIBA players of all time. He won eight Greek League championships, five Greek League MVPs, and was the Greek League’s Top Scorer 11 times. In 1991, he was named one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players and later elected to its Hall of Fame. In one season, he averaged 44 points per game for his club team, Aris B.C.