Kostas Sloukas talked about his decision to sign with Panathinaikos, the Greens' EuroLeague aspirations, and the information he gave to Luca Vildoza and Olek Balcerowski.

Credit: Vangelis Stolis
Credit Vangelis Stolis

Kostas Sloukas has been a player of Panathinaikos Athens since July 8. Over the course of 11 weeks, the Greek international has been the recipient of diametrically opposed sentiments.

Kostas Sloukas

Kostas  Sloukas
Team: Panathinaikos Athens
Position: PG
Age: 33
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 95 kg
Birth place: Thessaloniki, Greece

On the one hand, PAO fans love him and are excited to see him in the green uniform. On the other hand, Olympiacos Piraeus fanbase hates him and treats him like a traitor for what they perceive as the player's negative attitude toward his former team, even when he was still dressed in red and white. 

The two powerhouses are expected to lock horns not once, but thrice in one month, starting from their much-anticipated duel in the Greek SuperCup this Saturday, provided that they both win their respective semi-finals. 

In a long interview with Sportal's Ilias Laliotis, Sloukas talked about when and why he made his decision to sign with Panathinaikos, while revealing what bothered him the most in what some local media wrote about him. 

"The decision was made around the time I signed. Everything happened very quickly," the 33-year-old guard said before clarifying that he's decided to skip all discussions about what has happened in the background.

"Those who participated in the discussions, know very well what has transpired. The fans of Olympiacos love their team, so it makes sense that they feel betrayed. But they don't know all the facts," he added.

"What has bothered me about my transfer to Panathinaikos is that certain facts haven't been reported the way they should. The story has been told from one side only, and that makes sense. Olympiacos is a very big club and it can influence situations and journalists.

So, the truth about what really happened is being hidden. I'm not going to sit down and report what's happened. It doesn't affect me from a sports perspective. What mostly bothers me is that the true facts have not been written down," Sloukas continued.

The three-time EuroLeague winner confirmed that he didn't have any discussion with Olympiacos head coach Giorgos Bartzokas after the 2022-23 season ended.

"Yeah, we didn't talk at all. I have nothing more to say," he commented. 

Now, Sloukas is hopeful that his new team can reach a good spot in the EuroLeague playoffs, and then make a Final Four push. "We have a lot of work ahead of us. The first goal is the playoffs. If we get the home-court advantage, even better," he uttered.

Sloukas said he's very anxious to experience "the pulse of 20,000 Panathinaikos fans" at OAKA.

"You see what happens with the demand for tickets. There is big anticipation. We all feel the air is different, and fans can see that too," he observed.

As a former Olympiacos player, Sloukas knows that derby games will be different this year. Not only because of PAO's improved roster, but also because of his transfer to the Reds' main rivals.

Obviously, and because Olympiacos are an accomplished team that has won titles and played in the Final Four, those games are going to be special. I hope that Olympiacos ' winning streak against Panathinaikos will be broken," he emphasized.

"I believe in the team and I see that everyone has the right mentality. Always coming here to play against PAO, it was one of the most difficult atmospheres to compete in. The fans of Panathinaikos love their team very much and support it with passion. We have seen that in recent years, even though the results have not been positive," the Greek point guard continued. 

Sloukas admitted that he never imagined he would ever play with Panathinaikos' jersey. 

"I didn't think I could play here. But you never know what life brings," he said. Moreover, it didn't take him long to become his new team's captain, albeit a newcomer.

"It's a great honor. I was chosen by the coach, the staff, and the management. They showed that they respect my track as a player and the effort I have put in. Coming here, my mind goes to Frangiskos Alvertis and Dimitris Diamantidis," Sloukas said referring to the Greens' most emblematic figures.

The veteran player had an interesting answer when asked about the advice he gives to his teammates like Luca Vildoza and Olek Balcerowski. 

"I don't like advice. I try to solve problems that my teammates see," he replied.

"In most cases, it's just about tricks. Luca and I have talked about the game and how we can coexist on the court. He is an extraordinary person and a very talented player. Balcerowski is younger, and his game depends mostly on the guards.

So I've given him a few tips about how he can score more easily. These details are important on any team," he concluded. 

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