A note from Nikos Varlas, Publishing Manager of Euroleague's Global Official Partner, Eurohoops.net
After interviewing – and more importantly getting to know – Ekpe, he asked me to write for his blog mine and Giannis story.
It was a pretty interesting challenge, since one of the rules of journalism is to never write in first person and/or about yourself. That's why I will write about my “child”. Eurohoops was blessed to have many fathers and I am one of them. It was an idea that came through necessity. And I don't mean the infamous Greek crisis.
Greece has been for the past two decades one of the centers of European basketball and as journalists – believe it or not I am doing this job since 1996 – we learned many things about European and world basketball in general. If they were written only in Greek, very few would have the chance to read them.
That's why the first version of Eurohoops back in 2012 included a Greek and an English version. Aris (Barkas) came with the name and the concept, Lefteris (Moutis) had a mind for stats and analysis, Rigas (Dardalis) always had his eyes on the other side of the Atlantic and Niki (Bakouli) could write with a distinct personal style. It started with five quite experienced journalists and two languages. Today there are almost thirty of us and the versions are six with the Turkish being one of the most succesful.
Thanks to the dynamic duo of Bugra Uzar and Semih Tuna we made our first baby steps, but Eurohoops Turkey has grown. Mete Budak, Utkan Sahin, Murat Kose, Anil Can Sedef were added and our goal remains big. We want to become the best ever Turkish basketball site. Turkey and Istanbul is at this point the center of European ball, 2017 will be a year full of basketball in the country and we believe that so far both the sport and also Eurohoops Turkey have just scratched the surface of their potentials.
And after all, it's a small basketball world. Here I am, writing about a Turkish version of an international basketball site in the blog of a basketball star of nigerian origin, who happened to be the teammate of the Greek freak himself, Giannis Antetokounmpo, in the Bucks before becoming the fan favorite of Fenerbahce Istanbul. What are the odds of that?
Still if Giannis proved something is that you can do – almost – anything. We were lucky enough, being based in Athens, to meet him when he was 16 years old and already making a name for himself. It's easy to write it now, but there were enough people in Greece – and many more in the NBA – who believed back then that he could be an All Star.
The point in which Giannis surprised everyone is how fast he progressed from the Greek second division to being an NBA franchise player. What can be next for him? The goals are many but what's really interesting about Giannis is the fact that he is practically positionless, a 7-foot point guard - point forward and that may end up being his legacy.
Giannis is changing basketball by showing to everyone that the evolution of the sport will be athletes who can play any position and they have to be developed in such way, according to their abilities and their skill-set and not only according to their body.
They say that sports are a metaphor for life and Giannis is so versatile that he can be a metaphor for almost anything and anyone. So he can really be an example, we are more than happy to host his blog and we can't but follow his lead also in Eurohoops.
Thanks for hosting me Ekpe,