Probably the most legendary player ever to grace Greek basketball, Greek-American shooting guard Nikos Galis, is finally being inducted in the NBA Hall of Fame.
He is Nick Galis to some and Nikos Galis to millions of others. He’s either an American who became a basketball sensation in Europe or a Greek superstar who happened to be from America.
He is the celebrated Greek hero who, almost single-handedly, changed the course of Greek basketball, turning it into a national sport. He’s also a Jersey kid and Celtics draft pick, entering the Hall of Fame thanks to the International committee.
Clarity is needed as Galis prepares for the Sept. 8 induction in Springfield, Mass., as a member of the Class of 2017.
There is no doubt about being one of the greatest players in FIBA history, the starring role as Greece won the European title in 1987 or how he had such an impact on sports in his adopted homeland that the interior of the arena in Thessaloniki was re-named Nikos Galis Hall.
Nick Galis is from Union City, N.J., and Seton Hall. He averaged 27.5 points as a senior in 1978-79, third in the nation behind Lawrence Butler of Idaho State and an Indiana State player named Larry Bird.
The Celtics drafted Galis in the fourth round, 68th overall, in 1979, but sprained an ankle in training camp, missed time, and was cut before the start of the season. The child of Greek immigrants decided to try Europe.
Nikos Galis would play for two teams in Greece, Aris Thessaloniki and Panathinaikos, from 1979 to 1994. Eight Greek League championships, five MVPs there and several prestigious individual accolades would follow, with eight seasons as the leading scorer in Euroleague.
The shooting guard was named one of the top 50 players in the history of FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, in a 1991 survey and one of the 50 greatest EuroLeague contributors in 2008.