Just as Maccabi Tel Aviv begins their 2018/19 Euroleague season at Panathinaikos in Athens, Greece on Thursday October 11th at 21:00 Israel time, The Sports Rabbi had the opportunity to interview PAO’s veteran forward James Gist:
You’ve been playing for Panathinaikos for so many seasons. What’s it like to be a part of one of the greatest basketball clubs in Europe:
“It’s an amazing feeling that words just can’t describe. You begin to feel apart of something that is great. Something that has history and you get the opportunity to leave behind your footprints. Something that will last forever.”
Panathinaikos has brought in some new veteran players over the summer. How have they acclimated to the team during preseason?
“The new players are doing well. It takes time for a team in general to get acclimated no matter if it’s new players or returning players. I think there are enough returning players that it makes the transition easier for the new players. But everything takes time.”
What type of leader is Nick Calathes and what is his importance on and off of the court for the club?
“Nick is a huge part of our team. He’s a leader by all means. On the court and off the court. Always designating player functions outside the court and always leading the team in so many ways on the court. He’s a huge part of the teams success and I’m happy that PAO was able to keep him for 3 more years.”
Is the sky the limit for Dino Mitologou?
“I like Dino a lot. As a player and as a person. Because he’s humble. He doesn’t have an ego. He works hard and he plays harder. In practice whenever Xavi (Pascual coach of Panathinaikos) makes us do one on one drills I always like to match up with Dino. Because I know he’s not going to take it easy on me. He makes me better. And I know I make him better. Just by the will of our spirit to compete. Dino will have a very promising career as long as he continues on the same path.
How badly do you want to win a Euroleague title with Panathinaikos?
“I want to win and I want to win at the highest level possible. Realistically the Euroleague title is the highest level I’m playing right now. If I were in the NBA then my aspirations would be to win an NBA championship. I want to win at the highest level and I want to win more than once. It would be a dream come true to do that with Panathinaikos. But no matter what team I’m playing for, it is my goal to win the biggest trophy possible and do it multiple times.”