Papanikolaou: «I’m honored by the Presidents’ decision»
Kostas Papanikolaou spoke to olympiacosbc.gr about the extension of his contract with Olympiacos and his expectations of the upcoming three years wearing the red jersey.
“I’m very happy with this development and our collaboration continuing for the next three years. It will be perfect if these years are combined with happy moments, images and memories. I would like to thank the Angelopoulos brothers for the honor they bestowed on me. We have been together for almost all my career up, they are the first ones to have believed in me and have always been my side. For a player to be signing his contract extension before it expires is something that doesn’t usually happen with our team and this makes this already special moment even more unique. I would also like to thank coach Bartzokas, because this is obviously the coach’s choice as well”.
Asked whether the return of Kostas Sloukas – that brought together the core of players that were present during the team’s big successes – made his decision to accept Olympiacos’ offer even easier, he replied: “I never think about the future. I prefer to live in the moment and have my feet grounded at present, so I hadn’t been thinking about the future. I’m a member of Olympiacos, I had been a member of Olympiacos and that is the only thing I was interested in and kept in my mind as a given. From that point on, Kostas joining the team once again and this been combined with my contract’s extension is a very happy circumstance. We have been through a lot with Kostas, too many big moments and I can only be thrilled about how things have turned out”.
Despite a small intermission (Barcelona and NBA) that lasted a total of 2.5 years, “Pap’ is beginning his 10th season with the ‘reds’. This scenario, that is spending that much time with Olympiacos with the prospect for a lot more, was something that had never crossed him mind when he was signing his first contract with the team. “I came here at a very young age. I wasn’t even sure then if I would ever be able to play at the highest level. We all have dreams. We all want to be at the highest level, we all want to have a role and compete for titles, just like Olympiacos has given me and so many other guys the opportunity to do. Looking back at all these years, I can definitely say that I haven’t even realized how they have gone by! The truth is that when you sit and contemplate about it, you come to realize how many important moments you have lived being a part of this club. I for one have lived through some unique times. This whole thing is really magical and I’m not only talking about the happy times and the titles. I’m talking about good moments, bad moments, grief, memories, images from hotels, trips… All of the elements that comprise the years I’ve been with Olympiacos make them look like magic”.
Talking about the new very unique season – due to COVID-19- that is going to launch in a few days, he said: “It’s a new reality for everyone. We have to accept it and adjust to it. For sure, playing in an empty gym and missing on the support of your fans is not the best thing for a professional athlete. Because part of the game is to win to achieve the goals set by the team for the season. However, another reason you fight for is to make the fans of your team happy. When you have them by your side, they boost you when you need it to go above your abilities. But this is the new reality and we have to fight the ‘demon’ called coronavirus, so that we show the best and most remarkable team we can on the floor for Olympiacos and what the team stands for”.