There’s always something new to experience in life and Rick Pitino’s most recent foray into that was a doozy.
The longtime NBA and college basketball coach is in Greece coaching Panathinaikos in the EuroLeague. The team played arch-rival Olympiacos in the Greek Cup semifinal Wednesday. At least it did until this happened:
Well in 42 years of coaching I, thought I had seen it all. Up 15 at halftime. Motivating my team to come out with great intensity the first 5 minutes. We were fired up except Olympiakos never came back out. Game over. Onto the Greek Cup finals in Crete on Sunday #paobc
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) February 13, 2019
Olympiacos, led by former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, did not resume play in the second half. Olympiacos officials blamed poor refereeing while Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos told reporters it was a pay issue.
‘We should have left earlier’
Olympiacos players were called for three fouls in the game’s first 28 seconds, according to EuroHoops, and trailed 40-25 at the half. They did not return to the court after the break.
“We have seen it many times. We are disgusted and enough is enough,” Olympiakos general director Christos Stavropoulos told reporters, per Reuters.
“We should have left earlier. The Greek state needs to take measures to clean this filth.”
Pitino noted in post-game comments to reporters that his team “got our butts kicked,” per EuroHoops, in the regular season against Olympiacos and that he doesn’t like the message it sends that the team walked off.
‘They cannot pay’
The Panathinaikos owner, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, went a different direction and alleged a payment issue forced Olympiacos to find a way out of the tournament.
He told reporters after the game, per EuroHoops:
“It was something already planned. It seems that they cannot pay their players, they threw the towel and now they say that they don’t like the refs. Maybe the Aggelopoulos family wants to leave Olympiacos and to blame us and the refs. It’s unacceptable. You lose, or win on the court.”
To really elevate the dislike between the two teams, Giannakopoulos was seen leaving a pair of red women’s underwear on the empty Olympiacos bench after the team left the arena. EuropHoops called it a “symbolic and also provocative gesture.” Reuters reported the “controversial president” has verbally assaulted Olympiacos players in the past.
Panathinaikos officially won, 20-0, via the forfeit rules and will play in the Greek Cup final against PAOK. Olympiacos could face sanctions for leaving the game.
You’ve never seen everything.
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