Hellenic Basketball Clubs Association
The Hellenic Basketball Clubs Association, is a governing body for basketball in Greece. It directs the 14 pro Greek basketball sports clubs of the Greek Basket League, oversees the HEBA Greek All-Star Game, it has been in charge of the top-tier level professional club basketball league in Greece since the 1992–93 basketball season, when it took over those duties from the Hellenic Basketball Federation. Is a member of the Union of European Leagues of Basketball. A new logo was presented in 2010. Greek Basket League HEBA Greek All-Star Game Official ESAKE Site ESAKE Site Live Match Center
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is a men's professional basketball league in North America. It is considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world; the NBA is an active member of USA Basketball, recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player; the league was founded in New York City on June 1946, as the Basketball Association of America. The league adopted the name National Basketball Association on August 3, 1949, after merging with the competing National Basketball League; the league's several international as well as individual team offices are directed out of its head offices located in the Olympic Tower at 645 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. NBA Entertainment and NBA TV studios are directed out of offices located in New Jersey; the Basketball Association of America was founded in 1946 by owners of the major ice hockey arenas in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Canada.
On November 1, 1946, in Toronto, Canada, the Toronto Huskies hosted the New York Knickerbockers at Maple Leaf Gardens, in a game the NBA now refers to as the first game played in NBA history. The first basket was made by Ossie Schectman of the Knickerbockers. Although there had been earlier attempts at professional basketball leagues, including the American Basketball League and the NBL, the BAA was the first league to attempt to play in large arenas in major cities. During its early years, the quality of play in the BAA was not better than in competing leagues or among leading independent clubs such as the Harlem Globetrotters. For instance, the 1948 ABL finalist Baltimore Bullets moved to the BAA and won that league's 1948 title, the 1948 NBL champion Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title. Prior to the 1948–49 season, however, NBL teams from Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Rochester jumped to the BAA, which established the BAA as the league of choice for collegians looking to turn professional.
On August 3, 1949, the remaining NBL teams–Syracuse, Tri-Cities, Sheboygan and Waterloo–merged into the BAA. In deference to the merger and to avoid possible legal complications, the league name was changed to the present National Basketball Association though the merged league retained the BAA's governing body, including Podoloff. To this day, the NBA claims the BAA's history as its own, it now reckons the arrival of the NBL teams as an expansion, not a merger, does not recognize NBL records and statistics. The new league had seventeen franchises located in a mix of large and small cities, as well as large arenas and smaller gymnasiums and armories. In 1950, the NBA consolidated to eleven franchises, a process that continued until 1953–54, when the league reached its smallest size of eight franchises: the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Warriors, Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Tri-Cities Blackhawks, Syracuse Nationals, all of which remain in the league today.
The process of contraction saw. The Hawks shifted from the Tri-Cities to Milwaukee in 1951, to St. Louis in 1955; the Rochester Royals moved from Rochester, New York, to Cincinnati in 1957 and the Pistons relocated from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Detroit in 1957. Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the NBA color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks, he remained the only non-white player in league history prior to the first African-American, Harold Hunter, signing with the Washington Capitols in 1950. Hunter was cut from the team during training camp, but several African-American players did play in the league that year, including Chuck Cooper with the Celtics, Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton with the Knicks, Earl Lloyd with the Washington Capitols. During this period, the Minneapolis Lakers, led by center George Mikan, won five NBA Championships and established themselves as the league's first dynasty. To encourage shooting and discourage stalling, the league introduced the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
If a team does not attempt to score a field goal within 24 seconds of obtaining the ball, play is stopped and the ball given to its opponent. In 1957, rookie center Bill Russell joined the Boston Celtics, which featured guard Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, went on to lead the club to eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons. Center Wilt Chamberlain entered the league with the Warriors in 1959 and became a dominant individual star of the 1960s, setting new single game records in scoring and rebounding. Russell's rivalry with Chamberlain became one of the greatest rivalries in the history of American team sports; the 1960s were dominated by the Celtics. Led by Russell, Bob Cousy and coach Red Auerbach, Boston won eight straight championships in the NBA from 1959 to 1966; this championship streak is the longest in NBA history. They did not win the title in 1966–67, but regained it in the 1967–68 season and repeated in 1969; the domination totaled nine of the ten championship banners of the 1960s.
Through this period, the NBA continued to evolve with the shift of the Minneapolis Lakers to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia 76ers, the St. Louis Hawks moving to Atlanta, as well as the addition of its first expansion franchises; the Chicago Packers (now Wa
Spalding is an American sporting goods company founded by Albert Spalding in Chicago, Illinois in 1876. It is now headquartered in Kentucky; the company specializes in the production of balls for many sports, but is best known for its basketballs. Spalding makes a range of other products for baseball, softball and American football; the company was founded in 1876 when Albert Spalding and Wilmer Jesús Pisco Calvo both were pitchers and the manager of a baseball team in Chicago, the Chicago White Stockings. The company standardized early baseballs and developed the modern baseball bat with the bulge at its apex. In 1892, Spalding acquired rival sporting goods companies. In 1893, A. G. Spalding & Brothers purchased the Lamb Knitting Machine Company located in Chicopee Falls and renamed it the Lamb Manufacturing Company, it used this purchase to consolidate its skate manufactory from Newark and its gymnasium goods manufactory from Philadelphia to the Chicopee plant. Lamb engaged in manufacturing knitting machines and egg-beaters, had been fulfilling a contract since 1890 to produce the Credenda bicycle wheel for Spalding.
Spalding chose Chicopee because it was the home of the Overman Wheel Company, Spalding acted as their distributor in the Western USA, Overman contracted with Lamb to make wheels for its lower-end products. The Spalding "League Ball" was adopted by the National League and American Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs for the seasons of 1892–1896 and used by the National League since 1880, it was manufactured by A. G. Bros.. Chicago, New York & Philadelphia and sold for $1.50 in 1896. Production of bicycles continued at the Chicopee plant through the latter part of the 19th century, but in 1899 A. G. Ben Spalding sold its bicycle division to a massive trust called the American Bicycle Company which controlled 65% of the bicycle business in the US. During World War II, the company joined five other firms to form the New England Small Arms Corporation for manufacture of M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles. Spalding produced the well-known "Spaldeen" high-bounce rubber ball, said to be a re-use of defective tennis ball cores, sold to city children from 1949.
In baseball, Spalding manufactured the official ball of the major leagues through the 1976 season, using the Reach brand on American League balls and the Spalding trademark on National League balls. Since 1977 the official ball has been made by Rawlings. Spalding became a division of the Russell Corporation in 2003. However, that deal did not encompass Spalding's golf operations, which included the Top-Flite, Ben Hogan and Strata brands, which were bought by Callaway the same year. Horween Leather Company supplies leather to Spalding for indoor Arena Football League footballs. Spalding is known for its basketballs, although the company manufactures balls and accessories for other sports such as American football, baseball and volleyball. Besides, softball equipment is offered through company's subsidiary Dudley. Spalding developed its first basketball in 1894 and is a leading producer. Since 1983, it has been the Official ball supplier to the National Basketball Association; the company provides the official ball of the Arena Football League, an indoor American football league.
The company was one of the first to use high-profile athletes to endorse its products when tennis player Pancho Gonzales was signed to an exclusive endorsement contract in 1951. In 2006, Spalding and the NBA announced that they would create a new NBA Official Game Ball for the 2006-07 NBA season, with interlocking segments and made with a synthetic material instead of leather. However, many NBA players complained that the new composite ball became slick after use, wouldn't bounce as high and bounced awkwardly off the rim and backboard and cut their fingers; as a result, the NBA reverted to the old leather balls on January 1, 2007. Spalding is the official ball provider of the following leagues and associations, as well as it has deals with exclusive agreements with some prominent athletes: Arena Football League China Arena Football League NBL Harlem Globetrotters Milano Saugella Monza Sandbox Volleyball Karch Kiraly Robert Hathaway, chief of the firm's London branch who became ruler of Sark Official website Papers of Edwin L. Parker, former president of A.
G. Spalding & Co. Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
Aris Basketball Club known in European competitions as Aris Thessaloniki, is the professional basketball team of the major Thessaloniki-based Greek multi-sport club A. C. Aris Thessaloniki. Aris BC was founded in 1922, eight years after the founding of the multi-sport club and the football team, their traditional home arena is Alexandreio Melathron. Aris BC is one of the most successful Greek basketball clubs of all time, tallying ten Greek League championships and eight Greek Cups, making the Double four times, they have won three European titles: the FIBA Saporta Cup, the FIBA Korać Cup and the FIBA EuroCup Challenge. They are one of only two non-relegated teams from the Greek League, with participation in every Greek First Division Championship until today. Aris holds the record for the most straight wins in the Greek League, at an amazing 80 consecutive wins in a row. Before the arrival of Nikos Galis to Aris, the first European successes of the team, Greek basketball wasn't as competitive as it was in other European countries.
Aris helped to establish basketball in Greece, to increase its popularity across the country. Under the leadership of the legendary duo of Nikos Galis and Panagiotis Giannakis, Aris was the dominant force in Greek basketball during the 1980s and early 1990s, it is for this period of dominance that Aris BC has been nicknamed "The Emperor", was voted the most successful Greek sporting club of the 20th century. Aris is one of the most renown Greek clubs in European basketball, participating in three consecutive FIBA European Champions Cup Final Fours, on winning three lower-tier level European titles; the historic win of the FIBA Korać Cup in the 1996–97 season in particular, bolstered the notion that Aris has a unique place in the history of Greek basketball, in the history of Greek sports in general. Well-known notable players that have played with the club over the years, among others, include: Nikos Galis, Panagiotis Giannakis, Nikos Filippou, Lefteris Subotić, Miroslav Pecarski, Reggie Theus, Walter "The Truth" Berry, Roy Tarpley, Stojko Vranković, Žarko Paspalj, Edgar Jones, Tiit Sokk, Panagiotis Liadelis, Harold Ellis, Joe Arlauckas, Giorgos Sigalas, José Ortiz, Andrew Betts, Nikos Chatzivrettas, Nestoras Kommatos, Will Solomon, Smush Parker, Michalis Kakiouzis, Dimos Dikoudis, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Jeremiah Massey, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Sloukas, Bryant Dunston, Okaro White and Sasha Vezenkov.
Aris BC, the basketball branch of Aris Thessaloniki AC, was founded in 1922, 8 years after the founding of Aris AC. The sport of basketball was still new to Greece having been introduced in the country in 1919. In those days, the teams shared a single open-air court, Aris competed in the local Thessaoloniki regional championship, which it won 5 times, in the years 1926–30. During these first steps of the sport, it was significant the contribution of the Armenian community of the city, with players like Exoutzian, Benlian, Kontaxian, Karabetian and Jamjian; the first nationwide Greek Championship was held in 1927–28, Aris BC won its first Greek championship title on 23 April 1930, after beating ΧΑΝΘ with a score of 32–22. Aris created a remarkable tradition in basketball, with notable figures, like Faidon Matthaiou and Anestis Petalidis, coach of the team for two decades; the first appearance by Aris in an official international European-wide competition was during the 1966–67 season, when they participated in the 2nd-tier level European Cup Winner's Cup, as the Greek League runners-up.
From that season onward, Aris acquired the Alexandreio Melathron as its home court, which it still is to this day. The post-World War II Greek League period was marked by the dominance of basketball teams from Athens, but this all began to change in 1979. In that year, Aris won their first Greek League championship in the modern era through the inspired play of Charis Papageorgiou, the coaching of Giannis Ioannidis, an ex-player of the team, it helped provide the spark for the complete domination of Greek basketball by Aris, during the second half of the 1980s and the early 1990s. If that first Greek championship was the spark the fuel for Aris' brilliant stint at the top of the sport was undoubtedly Nikos Galis, thought by many Greek basketball fans to be the best Greek basketball player of all time, one of the best in Europe. Galis, the son of Rhodian immigrants from New Jersey, signed on to the team in October 1979, played his first game against Iraklis Thessaloniki in December of that year, scoring 30 points.
Fred Develey, the former coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, who became coach of Aris, was instrumental in convincing the management that Galis would not only change Greek basketball, but that he would change Greek basketball in Europe. The management was more concerned about his lack of height than his ability, until they saw him play, it would take another four years for Aris to rise to the top of the Greek League again, winning the national championship in 1983, with Galis taking the game in Greece to new heights, showing coordination and creativity, unprecedented in Greek courts, beating powerhouse rivals like Olympiacos and Panathinaikos single-handed. That year marked the return of Giannis Ioannidis to the Aris bench as coach. A successful 1983–1984 season had a bitter ending, as Aris battled for both the Greek League championship and the Greek Cup, but lost the national cup final to crosstown rivals PAOK, the l
Panellinios B. C. or Panellinios Basket, is a professional basketball club, located in Athens, Greece. The club was founded in 1929; the name Panellinios can be translated as Pan-Hellenic in English, can be interpreted to mean "The Greek Nation". B. C. stands for basketball club. So the club's name can be interpreted to mean "The National Basketball Club"; the Greek multi-sports club Panathinaikos A. O. was founded by Panellinios G. S. athletes. The club was owned by the Greek businessman Minos Kyriakou; the parent athletic club, Panellinios Gymnastikos Syllogos, was founded in Athens in 1891, making it one of the oldest sports clubs in Europe. It had a team of gymnasts compete at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens; the team's leader was Sotirios Athanasopoulos. Members included Nikolaos Andriakopoulos, Petros Persakis, Thomas Xenakis, 29 others; the team placed second out of the three teams in the parallel bars team event, earning a silver medal. The Greek multi-sport club Panathinaikos was founded by Giorgos Kalafatis in 1908, when he and 40 other athletes decided to break away from Panellinios Gymnastikos Syllogos, following the club's decision to discontinue its football team.
In 1929, the athletic association's basketball department, Panellinios B. C. Athens was founded, that same year the club won the Athens basketball championship. Panellinios has been the top-tier Greek League's champion 6 times, in the years 1929, 1939, 1940, 1953, 1955, 1957; the club would have won several more Greek championships during the 1940s, but could not because the league was temporarily disbanded because of World War II. In the early 1950s era, the team was called "The Golden Five", or "The Fabulous Five" and dominated not only Greek basketball, but European basketball in general; the Panellinios team headlined the Greek 1952 Olympics team. Although the EuroLeague known as the FIBA European Champions Cup, was not formed until the 1958 season, it is believed that had it been formed earlier, that Panellinios would have won several EuroLeague championships, as many considered Panellinios the best team in Europe during the early-to-mid 1950s. During that era, Panellinios took part in the biggest international club tournaments in Europe, the predecessor tournaments of the EuroLeague, that were held instead of the EuroLeague tournament.
The club advanced to the final of the 1954 San Remo Tournament, which they lost 81–74 to the Italian League club Olimpia Milano. Panellinios won the 1955 Brussels Tournament, by defeating the Yugoslav League club Red Star Belgrade in the final, by a score of 91–67. Panellinios won the 1956 San Remo Tournament, by defeating the Italian League club Virtus Bologna, by a score of 67–37. In the inaugural 1958 season, the European 1st-tier level European Champions Cup was formed. By that time, the team of head coach Nikos Nissiotis was coming to the end of The Golden Five era, as only 2 players of The Golden Five remained on the team; the club was eliminated from the competition, after losing its series against Steaua SA Bucarest 2 games to 0, by scores of 63–60 and 75–72. The team was led in those years by the great scorer Antonis Christeas; the team stayed in the top Greek basketball division for 23 straight years, starting in 1963, when the league was re-formed into a new format. The club finished third in the top Greek League in both 1970 and 1978.
During this era, it was the legendary Greek player Vassilis Goumas, the leader of the team. In the 1970–71 season, Panellinios player Paraschos Tsantalis scored 73 points in a Greek Basket league game against Panionios; the club finished as the runner-up in the Greek Cup in 1987. Panellinios participated in the European 2nd-tier level FIBA European Cup Winners' Cup and European 3rd-tier level FIBA Korać Cup competitions several times during the 1970s and 1980s; the club struggled in the 1990s, was mired in the second and third national divisions of the Greek lower leagues. New management came to the organization in 1999, when Minos Kyriakou took over the club, the club would again begin to establish itself as a strong presence in Greek basketball. In 2004, Panellinios returned to the top Greek League, after earning promotion, led by Marijan Kraljević and the Soulis brothers. In 2006, the team advanced to the playoff round of the Greek League, led by Dimitrios Tsaldaris, Damir Mulaomerović and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, finishing 6th in the league, after losing in the playoffs to Aris.
In 2007, the club finished in 5th place in the league with players such as Mamadou N'Diaye, Michalis Pelekanos, Gary Trent, Anthony Goldwire. The team lost to Panionios in the playoffs, but in finishing 5th in the Greek League, qualified for the new European 2nd-tier level EuroCup competition for the first time in club history. In 2010, the club moved from Athens, where it had been based to the city of Lamia. In March 2010, Minos Kyriakou, withdrew from the club's ownership position. In 2011, the club moved bask to Athens. In the 2011–12 season, the Greek Professional Sports Committee stripped Panellinios of its professional licence, because the club faced economic problems. In addition, the club wasn't accepted by the lower tiers of the Greek basketball league system, thus didn't play in any league during that season; the next season, Panellinios played in the A ESKA Category. But the team's
The Liga ACB, known as Liga Endesa for sponsorship reasons, is the top professional basketball division of the Spanish basketball league system. Administrated by the Asociación de Clubes de Baloncesto, Liga ACB is contested by 18 teams, with the two lowest-placed teams relegated to the LEB Oro and replaced by the top team in that division plus the winner of the playoffs. A total of 49 teams have competed in Liga ACB since its inception. Seven teams have been crowned champions, with Real Madrid winning the title a record 34 times and FC Barcelona 18 times. Real Madrid dominated the championship from the 1950s through the 1970s when was organized by the Spanish Basketball Federation. From the 1980s onwards when the ACB took control over the league, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid both dominated, though Liga ACB saw other champions, including Baskonia, Joventut Badalona, Baloncesto Málaga, Bàsquet Manresa, Valencia Basket. In more recent years, Baskonia has joined a coalition of now three teams dominating Liga ACB alongside Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
Liga ACB is one of the most popular professional indoor sports leagues in the world, with an average attendance of 6,427 for league matches in the 2017–18 season. This is the ninth-highest of any domestic professional indoor sports league in the world and the fourth-highest of any professional basketball league in the world, behind the National Basketball Association, the EuroLeague, the Women's National Basketball Association; the competition format follows the usual double round-robin format. During the course of a season, which lasts from October to May, each club plays every other club twice, once at home and once away, for a total of 34 games. Teams receive one point for a win, no points for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points, with the eight highest-ranked clubs at the end of the season plays the playoffs and the winner of the playoffs is crowned champion. A system of promotion and relegation exists between the LEB Oro; the two lowest placed teams in Liga ACB are relegated to the LEB Oro, the top team from the LEB Oro promoted to Liga ACB, with an additional club promoted after a series of playoffs involving the second, fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth placed clubs.
Below is a complete record of how many teams played in each season throughout the league's history: Until 2012, in the 29 editions played of the Liga ACB, only three teams declined promotion, due to acting as reserve teams or for lack of funds: CB Guadalajara and CB Cornellà in 1993 and CB Cajabilbao in 1994. Since 2012, due to the financial crisis that started in 2008, only two teams of a possible 10 could promote to Liga ACB; this started a discussion about the promotion requirements of the ACB, considered by the LEB Oro clubs as "disproportionate". For clubs that promote and would make their debut in the ACB demands: An arena with a minimum capacity of 5,000 seats. An inbound of €3m. For clubs that return to the league after a promotion, an update of the inbound is demanded. A deposit of €1.7m that would be returned in case of relegation to LEB Oro. In case of a new promotion, this deposit is required to be restored. Conversion into a Sociedad Anónima Deportiva if the club remains in Liga ACB after its first season.
In 2012, Iberostar Canarias and Menorca Bàsquet achieved promotion to ACB, but neither could fulfill the requirements in order to promote. However, Canarias played in ACB after buying the berth in the league of Lucentum Alicante sold to the association. In 2013, neither CB Atapuerca, Ford Burgos by sponsorship reasons, nor Lucentum Alicante could promote; the seconds resigned to play in the second league and joined the fifth division. In 2014 and 2015, CB Tizona Ford Burgos by sponsorship reasons, did not promote despite achieving the place two years in a row. After its second failed promotion, the third in the city of Burgos, the club sued the Association any accused them of "distorting the reality". In 2015, despite having played in the league during the 1980s and 1990s, Club Ourense Baloncesto was not admitted in the league despite fulfilling all the requirements, after not passing an accounts audit. However, ACB would admit Ourense for the 2016–17 season if it fulfilled the requirements regardless of their position in the 2015–16 LEB Oro season.
On 24 April 2016, the National Commission of the Markets and the Competence argued that the inbound impedes, in an "unjustified and discriminatory" way, access of new clubs to Liga ACB. On June 2016, the two promoted teams from LEB Oro resigned promotion to the 2016–17 ACB season and requested to the ACB their sign-in before the 2017–18 season. However, as Gipuzkoa Basket, who finished in relegation positions in three of the last four seasons, resigned from ACB, the Association offered again its place to Palencia and Melilla under these conditions: An arena with a minimum capacity of 5,000 seats. An inbound of €2m; the second million delayed on the dates agreed between the club and ACB. A deposit of € 1,6 m. In case of a new promotion, this deposit is required to be restored. Conversion into a Sociedad Anónima Deportiva before the start of their second season in Liga ACB. Palencia and Mellila refused the invitation, to reinforce their position against the inbound to play in the league. In April 2017, the National Commission for Markets and Competition declared the entering inbound and the deposit for the regulation of promotions and relegations as illegal, as they consider it "unjustified and excessive" and imposed a fine of €400,000 to the ACB.
Subsequently, the ACB replied that it would appeal the decision of the CNMC, contending that it infringed on the self-or
Vassilis Spanoulis is a Greek professional basketball player for Olympiacos Piraeus of the Greek Basket League and the EuroLeague. A 6 ft 4 in tall combo guard, he is nicknamed Kill Bill, V-Span, MVP. Spanoulis was named the Balkan Athlete of the Year in 2009, the All-Europe Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013, the Vatican's World Athlete of the Year in 2013 and the EuroLeague MVP the same year, he has earned a record eight All-EuroLeague Team selections. Spanoulis first played for Gymnastikos S. Larissas, enjoyed a successful career start, his skill-set earned him a transfer to Athens and Maroussi, where he won the Greek Basket League's Best Young Player award in 2003. Following an impressive 2004–05 season, during which he helped lead Maroussi to the Greek Basket League's finals and the EuroCup quarterfinals, he moved to Panathinaikos, where he became one of European basketball's major stars. In the 2005–06 EuroLeague season, Spanoulis made his debut in impressive fashion, earning his first All-EuroLeague Team selection as a rookie in the competition.
After a stint in the NBA with the Houston Rockets during the 2006–07 season, he returned to Panathinaikos and helped lead them to a EuroLeague title in 2009, being voted the EuroLeague Final Four MVP in the process. Spanoulis' transfer to Olympiacos from Panathinaikos, in the summer of 2010, marked a new step in his career, given Olympiacos' feisty rivalry with Panathinaikos. Within a young and rebuilding Olympiacos team, Spanoulis not only led the club to a EuroLeague title run in 2012, but he went on to lead the team to a historical EuroLeague championship repeat in 2013. In the process, he gained another two EuroLeague Final Four MVP awards, thus joining Toni Kukoč as the only players in the history of European basketball to achieve that distinction on three occasions. Under his leadership, Olympiacos reached another two EuroLeague Finals, in 2015 and 2017. Spanoulis played an instrumental role on the senior men's Greek national team's EuroBasket 2005 gold medal team. Most he was one of the main stars of Greece's 2006 FIBA World Cup silver medal team, scoring 22 points in the memorable victory over Team USA, in the tournament's semifinals.
It was however, Greece's bronze medal at the EuroBasket 2009, that emphasized Spanoulis' leadership within an injury-plagued Greek national team, earned him an All-EuroBasket Team honor. Spanoulis began his basketball career with the youth teams of Gymnastikos and Keravnos in Larissa, playing in the Greek junior levels from 1994, until 1999, he made his professional debut in the year 1999, at the age of 17, with the senior club of Gymnastikos S. Larissas. In the two seasons of 1999–00 and 2000–01, he played in the 2nd-tier level Greek 2nd Division, with Gymnastikos. After playing with Gymnastikos S. Larissas, in the Greek 2nd Division, Spanoulis signed a four-year contract with Maroussi of the top-tier level Greek Basket League, the European-wide 3rd-tier level FIBA Korać Cup, the European-wide 2nd-tier level EuroCup, he played with Maroussi until 2005. During the 2001–02 season, Spanoulis helped to lead Maroussi to the Greek Cup Final; this was the first time the team had made it to the Greek Cup title game.
Maroussi competed in the European-wide 3rd-tier level FIBA Korać Cup 2001–02 season. Spanoulis was voted the Greek Basket League's Best Young Player, of the 2002–03 season. In the 2003–04 season, Spanoulis helped to lead Maroussi to the Greek Basket League Finals, he helped lead Maroussi to the 2003–04 season's FIBA Europe League Final. In the FIBA Europe League, Spanoulis averaged 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists per game, off the bench for Maroussi. He shot 40% from three-point range, he was named the Greek League Most Improved Player that same season. Spanoulis was drafted in the 2nd round, of the 2004 NBA draft, by the Dallas Mavericks, following this sudden emergence, he made it onto the senior men's Greek national basketball team, at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games. In the Greek Basket League 2004–05 season, his last season with Maroussi, Spanoulis averaged 15.9 points per game, shot 37.8% from 3-point range, in 35 games played in the Greek Basket League competition. He averaged 15.2 points per game, shot 40.0% from 3-point range, in 12 games of play, in the European-wide 2nd-tier level EuroCup's 2004–05 season.
For the year in total, Spanoulis averaged 15.7 points per game, shot 38.3% from 3-point range, in 47 games played with Maroussi. He played in the 2005 Greek League All-Star Game, was named to the Greek Basket League's Best Five Team; this was a breakthrough year for Vassilis, as he had averaged 11.1 points per game the previous season. He was considered to be one of the most improved players in Europe for the year, he helped to lead Maroussi to the 2nd place of the Greek Basket League, for the regular season. At the end of the year, Spanoulis was voted the European 6th Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year in the EuroCup, he started being called, "The Greek Steve Nash", after this season. Following his outstanding season in 2004–05 with Maroussi, Spanoulis signed a 3-year contract worth €1.6 million euros net income, with EuroLeague powerhouse Panathinaikos Athens. Spanoulis and his agent, Miško Ražnatović, set the contract terms so that Spanoulis would have a buyout clause after just one year, set the buyout amount at US $400,000.
This was Spanoulis' first season playing at the highest European-wide professional club level. With Panathinaikos, in the Greek Basket League 2005–06 season, he won the both Greek Basket League championship and the Greek Cup, his team went 24