By Eurohoops Team / email@example.com
Ergin Ataman brought Panathinaikos Aktor back to where it belongs after a couple of seasons of struggling. Now, the Greens are at the top of the Basket League, ahead of Olympiacos in the EuroLeague.
The chance to lift the trophy is coming up in the Greek Cup, and the Turkish coach spoke to the OPAP channel about his time at Panathinaikos and his and the club’s ambitions.
He was asked what people say when they meet him on the streets of Athens.
“They tell me thank you, that they want the seventh star in Europe and to beat Olympiakos to win titles. But I am very happy that many times I meet – let’s say in Glyfada – Olympiacos fans, and most of them tell me that ‘we are from Olympiacos but we respect your work, but we will win,’ and I tell them ‘I’m sorry, but times have changed, I am here now and we will win,” Ataman said confidently, as always, admitting he takes about 50 selfies a day with fans. “They ask me everywhere, in every restaurant, on the street, on the beach.”
He also spoke about the collaboration with Dimitris Giannakopoulos.
“I believe that in the first meeting with the owner, the president of the team, Mr. Dimitris Giannakopoulos, I saw that he has a very strong desire to bring Panathinaikos back to the top level of Europe. I saw that he had the will to start this revolution with me. At that time, I thought that my cycle in Anatolian Efes had come to a close. And of course, I liked the project, I believed in it. When I believe in a project, I like to get everyone to believe in it. Because if only the president and I believe it doesn’t matter. The most important are the players and the fans. I also respect his family a lot because his father and the other members made the Panathinaikos basketball club one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Many people told me before I came here: ‘Ergin, you are a difficult person, Mr. Giannakopoulos is very difficult. How will you find each other?’ And I said: ‘I like more that someone has these feelings, that we get angry together, react together and rejoice together.”
His compatriot Fatih Terim is now the head coach of FC Panathinaikos.
“It was a big shock for me. I was very happy for him because Terim is one of the most important sports figures in Turkey. Football in Turkey is very popular, and Terim is the only coach in Turkey who won the UEFA Cup, many championships with Galatasaray, and was the coach of the Turkish national team,” Ergin Ataman said.
Source: Euro Hoops