Thousands of Panathinaikos Fans Welcomed the European Champs

ATHENS – After their team’s triumph at Uber Arena in Berlin, Panathinaikos fans transformed Eleftherios Venizelos airport into… OAKA – their longtime home at the old Olympic stadium north of Athens. Thousands of ‘green’ – the team’s color – fans welcomed the arrival of the EuroLeague champions on Monday afternoon, May 27.

When the plane carrying them landed, pandemonium broke out. The EuroLeague’s basketball champions boarded an open-top bus with a sign reading “The king is back,” and as soon as they appeared at Gate 7 (Cargo) of Athens’ international airport, it was chaos.

Photo: Eurokinissi

The fans hailed the Greens with chants and many flares, while four heroes, Kostas Sloukas, Kendrick Nunn, Ergin Ataman, and Dimitris Giannakopoulos, were particularly honored.

The bus started with great difficulty amidst the crowd that cheered on the champs, chanting Sloukas’s name rhythmically.

Then, the bus began its journey to parking lot 5 of OAKA, where the Green delegation would celebrate the team’s new European success with the fans who had begun gathering at the closed Olympic facilities.

Photo: Eurokinissi

The bus with the Green team drove to OAKA accompanied by many Panathinaikos fans following with their own vehicles! At OAKA, since early Monday afternoon, thousands of followers of the ‘shamrock’ (the team’s symbol – the four-leaf clover) had set up their own celebration with chants, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the open-top bus.

There was a slight a slight delay – they got there around 2:50 PM – due to the large number of people accompanying the bus from the airport. With the fans waiting for them going wild, the team bus entered OAKA’s parking lot. Slowly, the bus tried to reach the area where the main group of Panathinaikos fans was. OAKA was packed with thousands of fans singing chants in honor of Panathinaikos. The players and technical staff joined in the singing. Looking to another triumph next year, they chanted,”In Barcelona, it will be great, with the 8th in tow,” as the Panathinaikos anthem played over the loudspeakers at OAKA.

The Rock anthem ‘We are the Champions’ by Queen that has greeting winners for decades was heard from the speakers, while Juancho and Lessort sang with flares in their hands. The French center grabbed a megaphone and was ready to deliver his favorite chant: “Voodoo voodoo and Green magic, we brought the cup from Germany,” with the fans singing it loudly.

Photo: Eurokinissi

One by one, Panathinaikos players took the microphone and spoke to the Panathinaikos fans, as they heard their names being chanted rhythmically.

“We went through a lot, but Panathinaikos is back on top of Europe,” said Papapetrou, who was celebrated by the fans.

Captain and Final Four MVP, Kostas Sloukas, spoke about the 7th star (corresponding to the number of EuroLeague championship they have now claimed), saying amid massive applause: “Guys, I want to say a huge thank you for supporting the team from the beginning. We are European champions, we have already sewn in the seventh star, but the main goal of the year is the [Greek national] championship. For this, we will all fight together! For this!”

Coach Ergin Ataman declared: “From the beginning, we believed in you, and you in us, and now enjoy the 7th star! The 7th is here.”


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