BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
European basketball is mourning the loss of former Greek international player Georgios Amerikanos, who passed away in the early hours of Monday 7 October, at the age of 71.
Amerikanos, who had been struggling with health problems during the past three years, was admitted in the intensive care unit of an Athens hospital several days previously but his condition was irreversible.
The legendary Greek player had 68 caps with the senior national team, scoring a total of 1,076 points as he participated in two Pre-Olympic Tournaments, one Mediterranean Games and two EuroBasket tournaments, in 1961 and 1965.
He spent almost his entire career at AEK Athens and won six domestic league titles, claiming top championship scorer honours on two occasions.
The highlight of his career though came in April 1968, when he scored 29 points in the Cup Winners' Cup final against Slavia Prague to lead the Athens club to the conquest of the title.
It was the first success by a Greek side in the history of European club competitions and Amerikanos's name was ever linked with that glorious night in the collective memory of Greek basketball fans.
Amerikanos, whose surname means 'American' in Greek and was affectionately nicknamed 'Global' by his team-mates, passed away only seven months after contemporary legend Georgios Kolokithas, a life-long rival and friend of his.
"The President and board express their deepest sorrow upon hearing the news of the death of former basketball player Georgios Amerikanos," the Greek Basketball Federation (EOK) said in a statement.
"Our warmest condolences go out to his family.
"'Global' will meet up with Georgios Kolokythas and other old friends and team-mates of an outstanding generation of basketball players in the 'neighbourhood of angels'," the EOK statement concluded.
"Giorgos Amerikanos was one of those people with unparalleled passion and talent who paved the way for younger generations towards the success that the country has enjoyed in basketball at both club and national team level," the Greek league ESAKE said in their statement.