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Event to honor Greek NBA athletes in NY

"This plaque is the least I take with me form here. I can feel only joy and emotion for all this reception I reserved. "With these words, the Greek ace of the Houston Rockets, Kostas Papanikolaou, expressed intense feelings immediately after receiving the honorary plaque from the President for Business Operations of the Sacramento Kings, Matina Kolokotronis, at the event held by the Hellenic Basketball Federation at the Greek Consulate General, in New York.


"It's a rare opportunity for us to find ourselves in a place with so many Greeks. Maybe it does  not seem important for some, but it is very big thing for us to receive this love," continued Kostas Papanikolaou.

Kostas Papanikolaou, of the NBA Houston Rockets, was the only one of the four Greek basketball players of the NBA who managed to make it to the Consulate General after practice during this busy All Star week. Kosta Koufos & Nick Calathes were not in New York for the All Star game, and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the event at the last moment because of a second practice in preparations for the dunk contest of the All Star Game.

However, the selected guests who were present, were more than compensated, having had the opportunity to meet legendary figures of Greek and World Basketball: Panagiotis Fasoulas, who serves today, as the EEC International Relations Officer, the Federation coach, Nikos Katsikaris, Officer National Team official,  Nikos Philippou and the former star of PAOK and Sacramento Kings, Peja Stojakovic.

"I would define myself as 'Ellinaras'. The only thinging missing would be to wear a ... foustanela! By this I mean that I am very proud that I am Greek and I believe a lot in Greek players. I think it fits perfectly with what we all believe: That the Greeks, no matter where in the world they are located and whatever field they are employed in, excel. I feel this even more, ever since I became coach of the National Basketball Team,"  Katsikaris said.

Besides the four NBAers, the EEC awarded, among others, the famous "Uncle John" of Greek basketball,  businessman Giannis Kostalas, who has made a generous and wide contribution to the sport, even in difficult times. Indeed, he got the applause of those present, and unfolded one by one his memories of the successes of Greek basketball.

Furthermore, honorary plaques were receivedby the Consul General of Greece, Giorgos Iliopoulos, the Archdiocese of America, for its emphasis on Greek Youth Basketball leagues (received by President the Press Officer, Stavros Papagermanos) and New Greek TV (received by the President, Yanna Darilis) for her contribution to the organization of the event.

"For the future of Greek basketball, I will remind a phrase by Nikos Galis: This is our greatest success until the next," said Panagiotis Fasoulas, who announced the creation of a non-profit organization that will provide a "support mechanism" for Greek athletes of American Colleges.

The event was graced by the "presence" of, among others, the Consul General of Greece in New York, Giorgos Iliopoulos, representatives of the fan clubs of New York, of Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, Greek- American Anchors from FOX NEWS, Ernie Anastos and Nicole PetalidouBrooklyn Nets executive, Abner Neufeld, Greek- American businessmen and journalists from Greece, the Diaspora and the US press.

The Master of Ceremony and Event organizer was Yanna Darilis.