Legendary Greek basketball player Nikos Galis was presented with an honorary doctorate in sports by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on Tuesday.
He was honored both for his contributions to sports and culture, and for his invaluable contributions to society in general. Galis is credited with raising interest in the game in the Greek public and inspiring younger people to pick up the sport.
“As you know, I have been honored very many times,” he said. “Because however I grew up and studied in the United States, I never had the opportunity to go to a Greek school. […]
That’s why this is a special honor for me, and one I will not forget. You know what I’m like, I don’t like to talk about myself. I would like to believe I provided a good example for young children and people in general, in terms of how a professional should be like, and how to do his job right. I want children to remember me as a hard worker that did his job on the court well.”
Galis spoke of his love of Thessaloniki, saying, “It is my city, and I will not leave it, I’m going nowhere!”
University rector Nikos Papaioannou spoke of his modesty and of what a model he provided to young people, while alternate rector Andreas Giannakoudakis said that “he changed the future of basketball in Greece.”