Ergin Ataman met Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Acropolis tournament in August while coaching the Turkish national team. There, the player told him he would someday want to play for a team coached by him.

Credit: Anadolu Efes Istanbul; FIBA
Credit Anadolu Efes Istanbul; FIBA

Ergin Ataman is a two-time EuroLeague winner and the current reigning champion of the tournament with Anadolu Efes Istanbul. He was also the head coach of the Turkish national team in the months of August and September this year.

Talking about the upcoming EuroLeague season, the extravagant specialist told S Sport that Giannis Antetokounmpo approached him during the preparatory phase for EuroBasket 2022 and said some unexpected words.

"When we went to the Acropolis Tournament in Athens with the national team, we encountered Giannis Antetokounmpo. He came right up to me and thanked me, 'Coach, you're playing great basketball. I appreciate your team and you very much. All my dream is to play in your team one day,' he said. I said to him, 'I'm waiting. Our door will be open to Giannis Antetokounmpo like all the players who come here'," Ataman shared.

Greece beat Turkey in that tournament without Giannis on the active roster. During the match, Ataman even got ejected for receiving two technical fouls.

"It's nice that the players want to play for my team. After all, we are doing a job and we have to enjoy what we do. We had such a nice conversation with Giannis as well. I made an offer to him there, too. I said, 'I'll wait [for] whenever you want'. I want to see him on the team I coach one day. I don't know which team it will be, it is not clear when it will happen," the coach told. "I think I will coach Giannis after the [he comes back from the] NBA."

Anadolu Efes start their EuroLeague journey tomorrow with a home game opener against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. The match is scheduled to start at 19:30 CET.

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