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Dimtiris Diamantidis - The man, the player, the legend!

Dimtiris Diamantidis - The man, the player, the legend!

Interview with Dimitris Diamantidis the best defender in the history of Euroleague given to the Greek National TV Station ET1 (30/04/2011) just a week before the final four of Barcelona
 
Good morning Dimitris, I will go straight to the point, why not NBA or another European club, as many basketball figures said that you could do a lot in NBA?
Panathinaikos consider being among the top basketball teams in Europe. It’s a team which won many titles and gave many pleasures to its fans; there is no reason to try somewhere else, either in Europe or in the States. I feel perfect in the Green team, besides I never received any offer from NBA team all these years, whatever you reporters say from time to time there was nothing so far, but even if there was I do not think that I have the qualities to be able to play competitively in the NBA, it’s a different world and a different Basket.
 
Other players in your position they would have reacted differently as a possible offer from NBA they can’t turn off. How about you?
As I mentioned before and because I know myself perfectly I can tell you that I would have been negative, I’m not skilful enough to play in the NBA. My style is different than the one of the NBA and I don’t have the talent to play there! I have other talents who are helping me to play in Greece and Europe.
 
You have worked a lot during your career or it was mainly your natural talent? What is the reality? 
Talent is not enough by itself. At the age of 14-16 I never played to any National team as I didn’t have the skills and my body was quite small. Slowly-slowly my body was growing and i was getting some physical power too. We have seen many talents to simply “lost in the space” all these years. The important issue is to work hard every day. There are players that really do that, with only mission, to become better! and that was my aim too, that is why I am working hard every day. I had some talent and I have worked it, of course I was lucky enough as in the team sthat I was playing the coaches believed in me and even “push” me sometimes by giving me extra court time and of course they are the reason of my establishment
 
Which title of all the titles you have won has a special value for you?
All the titles have their own special value but if I was suppose to identify one, this oen would have been the European title of 2005 in the Eurobasket of Serbia, as when you win a title under the flag of your country is a great feeling.
 
Yes but the National Team is over for you?
Everything finishes some time!
 
Are your out for sure?
It’s finished! I had wonderful time with the Hellenic NT but now this is gone. I’m through  
 
Why is that? Is it because of the Turkey’s World league disappointment?
No! Not at all! For me it’s really very heavy not to be able to get some rest, with Panathinaikos the targets are always the same, Greek champion, Greek league and Euroleague! Then I wait for the Summer to get some rest, with the NT I can’t get rest at all. "If I want to be ab le to play some decent basketball for the next 2-3 years I need to stop the games in Summer. Besides whatever I had to offer to my NT I already did!
 
What is your relation with Coach Obradovic?
I believe that he is a very good coach. I came to Panathinaikos and I realized Basketball much different than what I had in my mind. He helped me a lot. He loves his business and every time "he wants to give 100% of his power and at the end he is always the winner! He has won so many trophies but he wants always to win and win and win. Coaches and players comes very close during the season and at the end when you win something or when a good result comes you just let it happen you behave like a happy child.  
 
Eventually you will travel to Barcelona and you will play in front of Barcelona’s fans, a team which you won and kicked out of the Final four. Do you think that these fans will create some “Troubles” for you and your team?
No, I don’t think so and I don’t care! We will focused on more important staff
 
What do you think that you can gain out of F4?
The only think that we can promise is that we will give 100% of our selves. We most definitely want to win the trophy but there are another three teams. We start the Semis against Sienna, a team that proved how large they are. We need to stay focused and give our 100% in the court. If we are better we will win, if not…….
 
During the last games with Barcelona you gave it all, did you believe before this series that you would have eliminate the power house of Barcelona, the European title holder and among the top teams in the globe?
As all the series was very difficult. In the first game, its was very important that we were so close to the victory and I said to myself after that, that we are able to do it!
 
Does Stress affects you or you are never under stress, as in the game (mostly) you look cool?
I’m always under stress! Especially in these series and in these kind of games which are very crucial. But upon getting in the court to play the game this stress becomes creativeness. We were much stressed but we showed that we are better team than Barcelona. In the fourth match, the game was not going very well at the beginning but finally we showed that we were a better team.
 
Do you often take with you in the big games your own people?
Yes I always take my people with me; I want them to be with me, nearby me.
 
How do you feel when they say things about you in the court?
I think that I got over them. On the contrary these words make me stronger, but if they are sworn my family I’m reacting differently, I believe is in every ones mentality on how to react. For sure the fans presentation does affect us but I’m trying to stay focused as much as I can. Defense is what I always focused on, exactly my role in the court.  
 
How do you feel when the fans of your own team react against you?
It’s not a pretty feeling but my team this never happened to be honest with you. As we won so many trophies and National and International so our fans do respect that and upon our bad results they always show respect. In the games against Olympiakos we experienced some extremities and this is not good for us. These few fans which are the minority in the games must be identified from the rest of the fans and must be slowly-slowly kicked out, as they are really very dangerous for everyone, not only us.
 
Have ever feared in a game?
Of course, you know in the games between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos things are not really steady. Either in our home court or in SEF, within 20.000 spectators there is a part that only comes to “throw us” things. All the decision makers must take their measures.  Everybody even us the players.
 
Why do you get mad when they claim that you are bionic player or the best in Europe?
I don’t get mad I feel defectively as I never liked the exaggeration. And because basketball is a team’s game it’s not a matter of one player is a matter of the team, not a single player can win one team.  
 
There are fans all over the world (even Barcelona’s and Olympiakos fans) that do say that you are the best player, and this is very important coming from opponents.
It’s most definitely important that there are opponent fans that respect players of another team. I will never say that I’m the best player. I know that I’m good and what I can do in the court to help my team, my team that succeeded quite a lot the last years. I feel honored when opponents do say that for me.
 
Do you read books?
No! I like TV and I spent many hours in front of my TV set. I watch everything, news, films everything, I want to be informed.
 
Τhe jersey with no.13 how did it happened to get it? Was it when you joined Panathinaikos, having in mind that the Gate 13 of Panathinaikos are the real Green fans.
No when I joined Iraklis Thessaloniki the only remaining number was 13 so I took it. When I joined Panathinaikos the no.13 was not booked so I took it, I’m not superstitious as many players are.
 
What does your Tattoo says?
My family’s names, in good times and in bad times my family is there with me!!
 
Do you think your life after basketball?
I don’t know how my life will be after basketball, I talk a lot with Frangiskos Alvertis and he always says to me that it will be a missing part in my life. I do believe though that I will have my family and I will dedicate to them. I have apersonal life too you know, it is important to have a personal life!

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