Euroleague Basketball bows its head upon learning of the passing of longtime Panathinaikos Athens executive Pavlos Giannakopoulos. A giant of our sport, Pavlos Giannakopoulos, together with his brother, Thanassis Giannakopoulos, was the steward of Panathinaikos for a quarter century from 1987 through 2012. Pavlos Giannakopoulos served as the basketball team president throughout that period, either alone or together with Thanassis, until Pavlos Giannakopoulos's son, Dimitrios Giannakopoulos, took over in 2012.
With Pavlos at the helm, Panathinaikos won six EuroLeague crowns, the 1996 Intercontinental Cup, 13 Greek League titles and nine Greek Cups. His loyalty to players and coaches and commitment to excellence established Panathinaikos as a club that elite players across Europe long to play for. His excellence as basketball executive was saluted by Euroleague Basketball in 2011 when he and Thanassis were named joint winners of the Executive of the Year award for the 2010-11 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season.
Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu would like to publicly express his condolences to Pavlos Giannakopoulos's son, Dimitrios Giannakopoulos; his brother, Thanassis Giannakopoulos; and the extended Panathinaikos family: "This is a sad day for European basketball and for me, especially, because with the passing of Pavlos Giannakopoulos I have also lost a friend. Pavlos and Thanassis were the driving force in building Panathinaikos into the sporting empire it is today. Their passionate and unwavering support for their club turned Panathinaikos into a model of greatness that clubs across Europe and beyond strove to match. Pavlos brought both vision and pragmatism to the decisions he made and helped all of European basketball take several steps forward over the decades of his involvement. He was a true example of love for basketball. Pavlos leaves a great legacy of success behind and will be greatly missed."
Pavlos Giannakopoulos's love for Panathinaikos knew no bounds and his desire to see the club among the best in basketball led him to recruit world-class stars from around the world, with the likes of Americans Dominique Wilkins and Byron Scott; European legends Dejan Bodiroga, Dino Radja and Sarunas Jasikevicius; and the best of Greek basketball, such as Fragiskos Alvertis, Dimitris Diamantidis, Nikos Galis and Panagiotis Giannakis all starring for the Greens at different stages.
Even after Pavlos Giannakopoulos resigned as Panathinaikos president, he cast a giant shadow and remained an influential figure both within the club and with the fans. All those at Euroleague Basketball and our participating clubs salute him one final time for his many contributions to European sports in general and to basketball in particular. May his memory be a blessing to his family.