Spanoulis: "Basketball, Because Of The Chicago Bulls"
Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2011 02:02
Updated: Thursday, May 11, 2011 04:57
"I started to love basketball because of the Chicago Bulls", admits Vassilis Spanoulis, who spoke to the official Greek language version of the NBA website about the Houston Rockets, the best European players that have played in the NBA, and the NBA Coach of the Year, Tom Thibodeau.
Vassilis Spanoulis went to play in the NBA for one season to fulfill what had been a big dream of his. "Kill Bill" spent the 2006-07 season wearing the jersey of the Houston Rockets. The Olympiacos point guard spoke exclusively to the official Greek language website of the NBA - http://nba.sport24.gr/ - about his beloved childhood NBA team, the all-time best European players that have played in the NBA, and also about the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau, for whom he played under, while on the Rockets.
Spanoulis first discovered the magical world of the NBA at the age of 10, thanks to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty. As he says, his love for the Bulls is what began his passion for basketball:
"I grew up during the time of the 90's Chicago Bulls, following them from when I was 10 years old. Following Jordan and his team. We are all lucky to have been able to see the best of all time. My love for basketball became even stronger because of watching that team."
He admits that signing a contract with the Houston Rockets gave shape to his NBA dream. He had good and bad times in Houston, where despite the promises that were made to him by the front office managers of the Rockets, he had little playing time. Spanoulis also talks about the distinguished assistant coach of Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau.
Thibodeau, the current head coach of the Bulls, was crowned the NBA Coach of the Year a few days ago. In Houston, he was the assistant to head coach Jeff Van Gundy, and Spanoulis said that he was the one that did the bulk of the coaching work on the team:
"It was Thibodeau who did most of the coaching on our team. He was a great defensive coach at the practices. He had very good ideas, discipline, and was very good during the training. One of the assistant coaches said that, wherever he goes, he will end up being great someday. I will follow his head coaching career that has begun so beautifully for him, and I think he will continue to be a very good coach."
Spanoulis, in his career with the Rockets, averaged 2.8 points and 0.9 assists per game [including the playoffs]. Since then, he has spent the last four seasons in Greece, playing the last several months with Olympiacos. He still however monitors what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic, and in particular, this year's NBA playoffs, for which he said:
"There is not any big favorite, like in other years. Several teams could make it to the Finals. We saw two big surprises with both San Antonio and Orlando going out in the first round. And in the second round, we have already seen Memphis win in Oklahoma City and Dallas win in Los Angeles. Anyone can beat anyone. Generally, the games are unpredictable, so interest in them is high.
He also believes, that at the current time, the five best players in the NBA are: Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Garnett. Very close to the level of those players are two Europeans, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol. Spanoulis feels that the Spanish and German are perhaps the best European players of all-time, that have played in the NBA:
"Next to Howard and Garnett, you could put Nowitzki and Gasol. It is a question that many ask, Gasol or Nowitzki? They are both huge players. Two of the best European players of all-time that have gone to play in the NBA, if not the best. Certainly, in the past, there have been others that we cannot forget. Such as, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Dino Radja, and the unforgettable Drazen Petrovic. They were also huge players, but certainly, those two (Nowitzki, Gasol), are probably the best."
Watch the NBA Greece video clip, with Spanoulis' comments, at dailymotion.com: