Olympiacos Piraeus history
Greek powerhouse Olympiacos Piraeus has been one of the most successful clubs of the 21st century with seven Final Four appearances, five trips to the championship game and a pair of EuroLeague crowns. Olympiacos was founded in the 1930s and lifted its first Greek League title in 1949. The first golden era came much later when Coach Ioannis Ioannidis secured four Greek championships between 1993 and 1996, along with runner-up EuroLeague finishes in both 1994 and 1995. When Dusan Ivkovic came to the bench in 1997, Olympiacos promptly became the first Greek winner of a triple-crown – Greek League, Greek Cup and EuroLeague titles – the latter by beating FC Barcelona 73-58 in Rome on the shoulders of David Rivers, Georgios Sigalas, Eddie Johnson, Panagiotis Fasoulas, Franko Nakic and Milan Tomic. After a few quiet years, the Reds finally got back to the EuroLeague Final Four in 2009, but lost in the semifinals – as well as the Greek League and Greek Cup finals – to archrival Panathinaikos. In 2010, Olympiacos made the EuroLeague Championship Game in Paris, only for Barcelona to walk away with the crown. The trophy case was filled with Greek Cups in 2010 and 2011. Then, with Coach Ivkovic back at the helm, The Reds finally broke the long spell of near misses in 2012 by lifting the EuroLeague and Greek League crowns for the first time in 15 years behind superstar guard Vassilis Spanoulis, with valuable support from Georgios Printezis, Kyle Hines and Kostas Papanikolaou. The 2012 EuroLeague Championship Game was among the most dramatic ever as Olympiacos rallied from a 19-point deficit to edge CSKA Moscow, 61-62, on a last-second shot by Printezis in Istanbul. One year later, with Coach Georgios Bartzokas now in charge, Spanoulis repeated his heroics to earn EuroLeague MVP and Final Four MVP honors in London, where the Reds overcame CSKA and Real Madrid to defend the title in style. Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos oversaw returns to the EuroLeague Championship Game in both 2015 and 2017, which resulted in losses to Real Madrid and Fenerbahce Istanbul respectively. After five EuroLeague title games in eight seasons, those lofty standards could not be maintained in the next four years. With new leaders like Kostas Sloukas and Sasha Vezenkov, Olympiacos returned to the Final Four in 2022, after downing AS Monaco in an unforgettable five-game playoffs series, and lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Vasilije Micic. Vezenkov was chosen to the All-EuroLeague First Team and Sloukas earned All-EuroLeague Second Team honors and the Reds also conquered the Greek League and Cup double. Olympiacos has the structure, core players, talent and fan base to be considered one of the top contenders for the 2022-23 EuroLeague crown.