- Bourousis Returns to Greece for Panathinaikos -
Panathinaikos completed one of the biggest signings of the summer when they agreed to a 2-year deal with Ioannis Bourousis . The Greek center was rumored to go to the NBA, but after a meeting with Pavlos Giannakopoulos, Bourousis decided to sign with Panathinaikos.
Bourousis played last season in Spain with Laboral Kutxa, taking his team to the Euroleague Final-4 and completing one of the best seasons in his career. After his one year contract with the club expired, rumors stirred about Bourousis going to the NBA or staying in Europe for Panathinaikos. Both the Spurs and Warriors had expressed their interest in Bourousis. After meeting with Dimitris Giannakopoulos, and his father Pavlos Giannakopoulos, Bourousis decided to stay in Europe for Panathinaikos. He stated, “Dimitris Giannakopoulos expressed his desire for me to sign with Panathinaikos. I told him if I were to stay in Europe, it would only be for Panathinaikos, and that is what happened.” The Greek center went on to say “In our final meeting, Pavlos Giannakopoulos was present. After he spoke with me, I said, it is final I am playing for Panathinaikos. He is a man that everyone respects and I was honored by his words about me. I have the upmost respect and appreciation for him and I could not say no to his offer.” Bourousis signed a 2-year contract that does not include an “NBA-leave clause.”
Bourousis began his career with AEK in 2002, winning the Greek League title once (2002), in his 4 seasons with the Kirtinomavri. After a short stay at Barcelona, he played with Olympiacos in 2006-2011. He won the Greek Cup on two occasions with the Erythrolefki before moving to Italy for two seasons. He returned to Spain for Real Madrid in 2013-2015. He won the Spanish Cup at Real Madrid (2014) and one year later won both the Spanish League and European Championship. This past season he played with Laboral Kutxa in Spain and had the best season of his career. He led the Spanish side to the Euroleague Final-4 and was named to Spanish ACB League Regular Season MVP. Bourousis has played with the Greek National team for many years, winning the Eurobasket in 2005 and 3rd place at Eurobasket in 2009.
Bourousis thanked his former team, Laboral Kutxa, for an amazing season. He posted on Instagram saying “Thank you for everything. Always in my heart baskonistas!!!”