‘I believe that this is the greatest gift that an athlete can offer to society.’ ~ Nick Galis
A sobering speech by a stellar player-slash-rolemodel now inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame (see video below).
Yes, Nick Galis, Seton Hall alumnus and Greek Basketball legend has been enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
It’s a tremendous acknowledgment built on a tremendous life achievement, a career whose high point saw Galis lead the National Basketball team of Greece to become European Champions in an epic final that marked one of the greatest upsets in the history of the sport.
I remember that day like it was yesterday — the day tiny Greece beat the Soviet Union, not Russia but the Soviet Fucking Union, the massive evil empire with its team of professionals. I was in Nicosia, watching the match with my dear grandmother. The whole town erupted in celebration, cars honking down the streets and people cheering from the balconies, shouting to each other ‘We beat them, we won!’ One of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced, that of victory against all odds — the notion that if this is possible, anything is possible.
It was Nick Galis and his team who beat the Soviets, of course, not we, but the feeling of victory was shared, the seed of accomplishment planted in everyone’s minds.
Some of those seeds took root, changing the scene. A whole lot of people were inspired by that night’s herculean feat, the shockwaves reaching far and wide, giving rise to an entire sports industry and tradition, to a fresh frame of mind. Bending reality to its will and progress. Shattering ceilings, glass and concrete alike. Creating magic.
Thank you, Nick Galis, for creating magic in this world. For being an athlete in the true sense of the word.