World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Greece national basketball team

Greece Ελλάδα
FIBA ranking 10 5
Joined FIBA 1932 (co-founders)
FIBA zone FIBA Europe
National federation Hellenic Basketball Federation
Coach Fotios Katsikaris
Olympic Games
Appearances 4
FIBA World Cup
Appearances 7
Medals Silver: 2006
Appearances 26
Medals Gold: 1987, 2005
Silver: 1989
Bronze: 1949, 2009
Light jersey
Team colours
Dark jersey
Team colours
Biggest win
Greece 123–49 Canada
(Athens, Greece; 17 August 2010)[1]

The Greece national basketball team is the representative for Hellenic Basketball Federation. Traditionally, Greece is considered among the world's top basketball powers. They were runners-up in the 2006 FIBA World Championship, after beating 101–95 a United States team featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony in the tournament's semifinal. They have won the FIBA EuroBasket twice; in 1987, after beating the Soviet Union 103–101 in the final in Athens and in 2005, after beating Germany with a convincing 78–62 in the final in Belgrade. Greece is currently placed tenth in the FIBA World Rankings (down from fourth a few years ago, due to relatively poor results in recent years).

Greece has also won one silver (1989) and two bronze medals (1949, 2009) in FIBA EuroBasket, having closely missed a medal in several occasions in world and continental tournaments (4th place in the 1994 and 1998 FIBA World Championships, 4th place in the 1993, 1995, 1997 and 2007 FIBA EuroBasket), as well as ending up in the fifth place in their last three Olympic appearances (United States 1996, Greece 2004, China 2008). Between 1990 and 1997, following their consecutive successes in FIBA EuroBasket, the Greeks participated in all major international tournaments but one, with their lowest ranking being a sixth place in the 1990 FIBA World Championship.

Greece is also the only national team in the world that defeated the United States team during Mike Krzyzewski's era (2005–), as the latter has an undefeated record since that defeat in 2006, in all major competitions. Coach Krzyzewski, in a press conference during the 2014 World Cup, stated: "2006, that's a lesson we learned. The Greek Team taught us (the Team USA) how to play internationally."[2]


  • History 1
    • International debut and first successes 1.1
    • Rise to the top level: European Champions 1.2
    • Firmly among the best in the world but no medals 1.3
    • European and Worldwide success: European Champions, FIBA World Championship Runners-up 1.4
    • 2011– 1.5
  • Honours 2
  • Competitive record 3
    • Olympic Games 3.1
    • World Cup 3.2
    • Mediterranean Games 3.3
    • EuroBasket 3.4
  • Memorable wins 4
  • Team 5
    • Eurobasket 2015 Roster 5.1
    • Depth chart 5.2
    • Past rosters 5.3
    • 1987 FIBA EuroBasket roster – European Champions 5.4
    • 2005 FIBA EuroBasket roster – European Champions 5.5
    • 2006 FIBA World Championship roster – Silver medalists 5.6
  • Statistics 6
    • Top 20 career caps 6.1
    • Top 20 career scorers 6.2
  • Kit Suppliers 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The previous Hellenic Basketball Federation logo.

Basketball has a long tradition in Greece, as the country was one of the eight founding members of the International Basketball Federation, more commonly known by its French acronym FIBA, in 1932. However, the men's national team was considered as a second-class power in international basketball for several decades and only came into prominence in the mid-1980s by winning the EuroBasket 1987. It was the first ever major international title won by a Greek national team in any sports. As a result, basketball became extremely popular in the country and since then Greece has been placed in the high level on the basketball stage.

International debut and first successes

Greece was to take part in EuroBasket 1935, the inaugural FIBA European Championship held in Geneva, but were not able to travel to Switzerland due to financial problems.[3] Thus, Greece made their international debut fourteen years later in the EuroBasket 1949 in Cairo, Egypt. That tournament has been marked as the weakest in the history of the competition, as most of the leading European basketball nations at the time refused to travel by plane to Egypt. Greece entered the tournament as a rookie and got through to make their first major success in their very first appearance in the competition, finishing in the third place behind hosts Egypt and strong side France.[4]

After their first international success, the Greeks were also present in the following tournament in 1951, where they qualified to the semi-final round and finally finished 8th among the eighteen nations that participated. They also made their first appearance at the Olympic Games, taking part at the basketball tournament in 1952. They were narrowly eliminated in the preliminary round, finishing at the bottom of the classification along with other six teams, ending the first period in the history of the team as Greece did not enter any major tournament for the rest of the 1950s.

During the 1960s, the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s, Greece appeared in most of the EuroBasket competitions, with their best performances being the 8th place in 1965 and the 9th place in both 1979 and 1981. They didn't manage to qualify for the Summer Olympic Games and the FIBA World Cup but in 1979 they managed to win the gold medal at the Mediterranean Games, beating Yugoslavia 85–74 in the final.

Rise to the top level: European Champions

Greek basketball legend Nikos Galis, FIBA Hall of Fame inaugural inductee and widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest players in both European and FIBA International basketball history.

The history of the national team was not overly impressive until the mid-1980s, when Greece arose as the new power in international basketball spearheaded by top-class players Nikos Galis, the top scorer in the history of European basketball, Panagiotis Giannakis, Panagiotis Fasoulas and Fanis Christodoulou. The beginning was their qualification for the 1986 FIBA World Championship, for the first time in their history and the end of the tournament found them 10th among the twenty-four nations.

In the next year, Greece faced up their biggest challenge, as the country was the host of the EuroBasket 1987 and the team enjoyed a formidable line-up. Qualified from the preliminary round, they eliminated Italy and Yugoslavia, both among the favourites to win the tournament, in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals respectively. In the final, Greece faced the defending champions and heavily favoured Soviet Union. In front of 17,000 Greek fans at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, the hosts won the gold medal after a thrilling win 103–101 over the Soviets, with Nikos Galis scoring 40 points.[5] It was the first time that a Greek national team won a major tournament in any sports, thus basketball was made the national team sport overnight and the national team was to be considered the official cherished of the Greek nation.

The European champions failed to qualify for the 1988 Summer Olympic Games for a first time in 36 years, despite a decent performance in the pre-Olympic tournament. In the EuroBasket 1989, the defending champions were under pressure to prove that they could stand at the top level of international basketball and they did so in a convincing way. After they had qualified from the group stage, the Soviet Union stood in their way in the semi-finals but Greece defeated them once again and reached the final. Contrary to what happened two years ago, this time Greece had to overcome Yugoslavia and the latter's home court advantage, as the tournament was held in Zagreb. Eventually, the Greek team bowed to the home side taking the silver medal, their third medal in total and second in a row.

Firmly among the best in the world but no medals

In the 1990s there was a series of successful results for the national team, which was present in all major international tournaments every year except for the 1992 Summer Olympic Games. In the period between 1990 and 1998, Greece never fell below 6th place and usually ended up 4th. They also qualified for a second Olympic appearance in 1996, where the team reached the 5th position.

Ιn the 1990 FIBA World Championship, the team would face a new challenge as they would have to compete without their leading scorer Nikos Galis who was injured, but performed better than four years ago and were placed 6th. For the next two competitions in 1994 and 1998 Greece finished 4th. In 1994, the team reached the semi-finals but was eliminated by the United States and played for the third place against Croatia to which they lost and were placed 4th, a result that was considered to demonstrate the continued prominence of the team. In 1998, the tournament was held in Athens and the Greeks hoped to qualify for the final, but in the semi-final they were eliminated by Yugoslavia in extra time and their disappointment of missing the chance to reach the final led to an easy defeat to the United States in the bronze medal game, once more leaving Greece 4th.

In the EuroBasket 1991 Greece finished 5th and for the next three competitions in 1993, 1995 and 1997 they reached the semi-finals but ultimately ended up 4th. The 1995 tournament was hosted in Greece but the Greeks failed to repeat the triumph of 1987 and were defeated in the semi-final by Yugoslavia, something that happened again in 1997, while hosts Germany had eliminated Greece in 1993.

The years 1999–2002 were marked by an obvious decline of Greece. The beginning of this era was the shocking 16th and last place of the team in the final standings of the EuroBasket 1999, having suffered three defeats in the preliminary round. Consequently, Greece was absent from the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. In the next European championship in 2001, the Greek team was placed 9th, thus failed to qualify for the 2002 FIBA World Championship.

European and Worldwide success: European Champions, FIBA World Championship Runners-up

Greece won the silver medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship after their memorable 101–95 win against USA.

The revival of Greece started in the EuroBasket 2003, where an overhauled team finished 5th; the experiment was partly successful but the public was not very enthusiastic. The 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, were considered as the biggest chance of hosts Greece to win their first Olympic medal, but a close loss (69–64) to eventual gold medalists Argentina in the quarter-finals, stopped their way and they were finally placed 5th.

Greece were considered a strong outsider for the medals at the EuroBasket 2005. They advanced from the group stage with two wins in three games and eliminated Israel and Russia to reach the semi-finals, where they faced France. The French were leading the score by seven points with only one minute left, Greece appeared to have no chance to pull out the win and one more lost semi-final was coming. However, the Greeks managed to get within a two-point distance and won 67–66 with a three-pointer by Dimitris Diamantidis with three seconds remaining, setting off a joyous celebration from the Greek side. At the final and in front of a raucous pro-Greece sold-out crowd of 20,000 at the Belgrade Arena, the Greeks defeated Germany in a convincing way with 78–62 and won the gold medal for a second time in their history.[6]

Greek basketball legend Panagiotis Giannakis is the only person to have won the EuroBasket both as a player (EuroBasket 1987) and as a head coach (EuroBasket 2005). He also led Greece to the final of the 2006 World Championship.

In the next year, the European champions won the 2006 Stanković Cup going undefeated in the tournament and defeating Germany again at the final with an impressive 84–47 win. In the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Greece were glazed to win a medal that had closely missed in their last two participations in the tournament and reached once more the semi-finals with a record of seven consecutive wins, some of them impressive. In the semi-finals, Greece defeated the popular odds-on United States in a 101–95 upset, rallying back from twelve points down, and qualified for the final, but they proved to be exhausted from their dramatic game with the Americans and lost 70–47 to Spain, ending up with the silver medal. Despite the loss the players were greeted enthusiastically by celebrating fans on their return to Greece, due to their first medal in a World Championship and their glorious win over the United States.

In the EuroBasket 2007, the defending European champions advanced to the semi-finals where they faced up hosts and world champions Spain, in a repeat of the final one year ago. Greece came close to take a revenge but finally lost 82–77 and played in the bronze medal game, where they succumbed to Lithuania. At the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, another last-second defeat 80–78 to Argentina in the quarter-finals led Greece to the 5th place more. In the EuroBasket 2009, the national team was potently changed; with a bunch of young players and without key players Theodoros Papaloukas and Dimitris Diamantidis, as well as Panagiotis Vasilopoulos and Kostas Tsartsaris, the tournament was perceived as the turning point for Greece after their major recent achievements. However, after their fourth consecutive defeat to Spain in the semi-finals and sixty years after their first, and last, bronze medal they managed to take the podium in the third position against the odds, with a thrilling 57–56 win over the Slovenia, ceasing the curse of being defeated in all bronze medal games in their history.

Before the 2010 FIBA World Championship, the team exhibited impressive performances during friendly preparation matches, beating Germany 82–54, Russia 101–63, Croatia 90–81, Canada 123–49, Slovenia 96–72, and Serbia 74–73, in a game that ended up in a brawl. That brawl exposed problems within the team, which showed a different face in crucial matches in the World Championship. In the group stage, Greece lost to Turkey and Russia, (being accused of purposely losing the game with Russia, to avoid playing with Spain in the knock-out stage). France's loss to New Zealand meant that Greece had to face Spain anyway in the phase of 16. The two teams met once more, in a dramatic game that Spain won in the last minutes (a game that lead to Greek complaints about critical referee calls). That loss meant that the Greek team was eliminated from the next stage, ending up 11th (its worst performance in a World Cup). That game led to the fifth consecutive Spanish victory over Greece in major international competitions (Greece would stop Spain's winning streak 3 years later at Eurobasket 2013, beating them 79–75 with Vassilis Spanoulis scoring 20 points). This actually represents a reversal of the previous situation, as Greece had defeated Spain in every match they played against each other at four major international competitions (1998 FIBA World Championship, EuroBasket 1995, EuroBasket 1993, and the 1990 FIBA World Championship). After the elimination in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, top class player, Dimitris Diamantidis, announced his retirement from the national team at age 30.


Giorgos Printezis

During preparations for EuroBasket 2011, new head coach, Ilias Zouros, faced one of the greatest challenges in the history of the Greek basketball team, with the absences of no less than 9 key players (including star players: Dimitris Diamantidis, Theodoros Papaloukas, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, and Vassilis Spanoulis). Zouros had to assemble a team mostly made of young players (half of the team's players had never participated in the EuroBasket), with little time to prepare. The new national team, featuring some of the next generation Greek players ("Generation X"), exhibited promising signs during friendlies, beating Russia 83–80, Germany 69–56, and Turkey 62–38. At the EuroBasket, Greece managed to reach the quarterfinals, where it lost to eventual finalist France (64–56). Subsequently, victory against Serbia (87–77), and a loss to Lithuania (73–69), led Greece to 6th place, thus securing participation in the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament. At the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Greece failed to qualify for the Olympics, after an 80–79 loss to Nigeria.

Participation in the Eurobasket 2013 with its new coach, Andrea Trinchieri, didn't bring any consolation to its fans. The team, once more exhibited superb performance during preparation games (including scoring commanding victories against both eventual finalists France and Lithuania) earning top spot at FIBA Eurobasket power rankings before the tournament. Their start in the Eurobasket was equally fruitful, with comfortable victories against Sweden (79–51), Russia (80–71) and Turkey (84–61). However, serious injuries plagued the Greek team (Spanoulis, Mavrokefalidis, Papanikolaou, Zisis) and despite the impressive win against the defending Champions Spain, losses at critical games (especially those against Italy and Finland in Group stage 1), lead to failure to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since the EuroBasket 2001. They were, however, selected as a wild card for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, being placed in Group B consisting of Philippines, Senegal, Argentina, Croatia and rivals Puerto Rico. The team once more had a new coach, Fotios Katsikaris, and once more faced what has become a chronic problem of missing key players (this time Vassilis Spanoulis, Kosta Koufos, Antonis Fotsis, Stratos Perperoglou and Sofoklis Schortsanitis). It ended up first in its group after defeating all the above teams (being, along with USA and Spain one of three udefeated teams in the Group Stage), but lost to Serbia in the Round of 16, ending up 9th overall.


The Greek national team's medal record through the years:
Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
FIBA World Cup 0 1 0 1
FIBA EuroBasket 2 1 2 5
Mediterranean Games 1 4 3 8
Grand Totals 3 6 5 14

Competitive record

Memorable wins


Eurobasket 2015 Roster

Depth chart

Pos. Starter Bench Bench
C Kostas Koufos Ioannis Bourousis
PF Georgios Printezis Kostas Kaimakoglou
SF Giannis Antetokounmpo Kostas Papanikolaou Stratos Perperoglou
SG Kostas Sloukas Nikos Pappas
PG Nick Calathes Nikos Zisis Vangelis Mantzaris

Past rosters

1987 FIBA EuroBasket roster – European Champions

Nikos Galis, Panagiotis Giannakis, Panagiotis Fassoulas, Fanis Christodoulou, Michalis Romanidis, Nikos Filippou, Nikos Stavropoulos, Argiris Kambouris, Memos Ioannou, Liveris Andritsos, Panagiotis Karatzas, Nikos Linardos (Coach: Kostas Politis)

2005 FIBA EuroBasket roster – European Champions

Dimitrios Diamantidis, Thodoros Papaloukas, Vasileios Spanoulis, Nikos Zisis, Lazaros Papadopoulos, Michalis Kakiouzis, Dimos Dikoudis, Antonios Fotsis, Kostas Tsartsaris, Nikos Hatzivrettas, Yiannis Bourousis, Panagiotis Vasilopoulos (Coach: Panagiotis Giannakis)

2006 FIBA World Championship roster – Silver medalists

Dimitrios Diamantidis, Thodoros Papaloukas, Vasileios Spanoulis, Nikos Zisis, Lazaros Papadopoulos, Michalis Kakiouzis, Dimos Dikoudis, Antonios Fotsis, Kostas Tsartsaris, Nikos Hatzivrettas, Sofoklis Schortsanitis, Panagiotis Vasilopoulos (Coach: Panagiotis Giannakis)


Top 20 career caps

  • Note: Includes only games played that are classified as being games played under the category of Greek senior men's national basketball team games, as deemed by the Hellenic Basketball Federation.
  • Players in bold, are players that are still active.

Players with the most caps (games played):


Rank Player Caps
1. Panagiotis Giannakis 351
2. Panagiotis Fasoulas 244
3. Fanis Christodoulou 220
4. Nikos Zisis 186
5. Georgios Sigalas 185
6. Antonis Fotsis 184
7. Liveris Andritsos 182
8. Dimitris Kokolakis 178
9. Nikos Galis 168
10. Manthos Katsoulis 165
11. Kostas Patavoukas 162
12. Georgios Kastrinakis 158
13. Fragiskos Alvertis 155
14. Takis Koroneos 150
15. Michalis Giannouzakos 147
16. Vassilis Spanoulis 143
17. Georgios Trontzos 136
18. Ioannis Bourousis 131
19. Dimitrios Papanikolaou 131
19. Theo Papaloukas 131
20. Efthimios Rentzias 127
20. Sotiris Sakellariou 127

Last updated: 14 September 2015.

Top 20 career scorers

  • Note: Includes only games played that are classified as being games played under the category of Greek senior men's national basketball team games, as deemed by the Hellenic Basketball Federation.
  • Players in bold, are players that are still active.


Rank Player Points scored Caps Points per game
1. Panagiotis Giannakis 5,301 351 15.1
2. Nikos Galis 5,129 168 30.5
3. Panagiotis Fasoulas 2,384 244 9.8
4. Fanis Christodoulou 2,269 220 10.3
5. Takis Koroneos 1,832 150 12.2
6. Georgios Kolokithas 1,807 90 20.1
7. Antonis Fotsis 1,734 184 9.4
8. Vassilis Goumas 1,641 114 14.4
9. Georgios Kastrinakis 1,612 158 10.2
10. Fragiskos Alvertis 1,605 155 10.4
11. Georgios Trontzos 1,543 136 11.3
12. Georgios Sigalas 1,487 185 8.0
13. Steve Giatzoglou 1,468 115 12.8
14. Vassilis Spanoulis 1,460 143 10.2
15. Nikos Zisis 1,424 186 7.7
16. Manthos Katsoulis 1,371 165 8.3
17. Dimitris Kokolakis 1,280 178 7.2
18. Ioannis Bourousis 1,231 131 9.4
19. Nikos Oikonomou 1,156 109 10.6
20. Apostolos Kontos 1,114 114 9.8

Last updated: 14 September 2015.

Kit Suppliers

Period Kit supplier
1981–1988 Asics
1989–1990 Adidas
1991–1995 Reebok
1996 Adidas
1997–2005 Nike
2006–2007 Champion
2008 Adidas
2009–2014 Champion
2015–present Spalding


  1. ^ Greece trounces Canada 123-49 at Acropolis event.
  2. ^ Coach Mike Krzyzewski: "The Greek Team taught us how to play internationally". Barcelona: FIBA. 9 September 2014. Event occurs at 14 min 27 sec. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Eurobasket History – The 30s". Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Eurobasket History – The 40s". Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  5. ^ "Eurobasket History – The 80s". Retrieved 9 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "EuroBasket History – The 21st century". Retrieved 11 September 2009. 

External links

  • Hellenic Basketball Federation (Greek)
  • FIBA profile
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.