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  InterBasket > Player Profiles > Nikos Galis, Greece > talkNikos Galis From "Greece’s pedigree in European basketball up until 1987 was not overly impressive. In fact, their only previous European Championship participation in the decade was in 1981, where they finished in an unheralded 10th position.

But all that changed with the arrival of Nikos Galis into the Greek national side and the fact that the 1987 championship would be hosted on Greek soil. Galis, who was arguably the top scorer in the history of European basketball, came together with fellow guard Panagiotis Yiannakis, center Panagiotis Fassoulas and power forward Fanis Christodolou in a formidable line-up.

After an inauspicious start, which included two preliminary round losses, the Greeks clicked into gear beating Italy in the quarter-finals (90-78), Yugoslavia in the semis (81-77) and faced the Soviet Union in the final.

The gold medal game was played in front of 17,000 Greek fans, and it proved to be a thriller. Galis scored 40 points for Greece, but it was forward Kamburis was the hero. His 2 last second free throws gave Greece a last-gasp overtime victory and the finest hour in the country’s basketball history."

Ibn Notes: Galis in the NCAA: So Galis enrolled in Union Hill High School and became a crucial and irreplaceable player. Important New York colleges began to show an interest in him, but Galis finally ended up with the Seton Hall Pirates. There he got the number 11 vest and became a crucial player fairly quickly. But the lack of other good players prevented Galis' team from reaching any NCCA finals in the 4 years that he was playing there. In his fourth and final year, Galis, by now a shooting guard, saw his points average reach 27.5 and his name ranked third among the leading NCCA scorers, behind the great Larry Bird and Balder. When he left Seton Hall, his name was on nearly every record scoring list in the college.

Thanks, Mr Manon: In the spring of 1979 Galis realised that the time had come for him to try and play in the NBA. But this big plan was ruined by the whims of his manager, Bill Manon, who may have ruined Galis' career but surely all Greeks are now grateful to him. Bill Manon was the agent of a few basketball players but mostly actors and artists, etc. Among those was the famous Diana Ross who had just launched her solo career away from her band "The Supremes". 'Upside Down' became a big hit and the agent started making money hand over fist, neglecting his then 22 year old Greek basketball player. So, from the first round of drafts, Galis found himself in the fourth with the number 68 and was picked by the Boston Celtics who had already chosen Larry Bird and wanted Galis just to make up the numbers. Galis tried to stay in the NBA but at the worst possible moment an injury left him out for 2 weeks and on his return, he found his place had been taken by Henderson.

NBA 0, Greece 1: So he was forced to say goodbye to the NBA, but he would not have believed it if he had been told that soon after he would become famous in the land of his forefathers, where, as he admits now, he didn't even know they played basketball.

Nikos Gallis Profile

Name: Nikos Georgalis
Nickname: Nik the Greek
Born: July 23, 1957
Status: Retired
Origin: New Jersey, USA
Height: 6-0/1,83
Weight: 80kg
Schools: Seton Hall
Drafted: 1979, Fourth Round, 68th overall pick by the Boston Celtics
Languages: English, Greek
Website: InterBasket &
Teams (jersey): Hellas National Team, IBN Dream Team (First Team)
Ibn Notes: The child of a poor immigrant family from Rhodes, Greece, Nikos Galis was the fourth and last child, but was destined to become the best.... following in his father's footsteps, Galis took up boxing in his early years, his father George Georgalis having been a very good boxer in his youth. Fearful of seeing him come home with his face covered in blood, his mother, Stella Georgali intervened to persuade him to take up something else. He didn't find rugby attractive, so he took up the other most popular sport in the New Jersey neighborhoods: basketball. In an interview for the magazine "Triponto" some years ago he said "In our neighborhood I would always play the older boys and beat them. I would rarely lose whether I was playing boys my own age or older! Ibn Facts: Back in 1991, FIBA named Nikos Galis as one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players with the likes of other international basketball legends Arvydas Sabonis, Drazen Petrovic, Dino Meneghin, Juan Antonio Corbalan, Oscar Schmidt, Teo Cruz, Sergei Belov, Modestas Paulauskas, Toni Kukoc, Alexander Volkov, and Vlade Divac among others... the list was determined by votes from a group of international experts and coaches. 
Nikos Galis Links  From our forum:      Articles and other resources: A New Generation of Stars: History of Eurobasket (