Nikolaos Georgalis (Greek: Νικόλαος Γεωργαλής), commonly known as either Nikos Galis (Greek: Νίκος Γκάλης), or Nick Galis (alternate spellings include: Nikos Gallis, Nick Gallis, Nicolaos Georgalis, Nicolaos Georgallis, Nikolaos Galis, Nikolaos Gallis) (born July 23, 1957 in Union City, New Jersey, United States), is a retired Greek professional basketball player. He was named one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1991, is an inaugural member of the FIBA Hall of Fameand was named one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors, on February 3, 2008.
Galis played the point guard position during his college years, but turned into a shooting guard as a professional. He spent most of his career in Aris, before having a late stint with Panathinaikos. He is the Euroleague’s all-time leader in both career points scored and points per game (counting both FIBA and ULEB games), leading the competition in scoringeight times. In the premier european club competition, he reached the Euroleague Final Four on four occasions, three consecutive ones with Aris (1988–90), and another one with Panathinaikos (1994). Galis is also the Greek Championship’s all-time leading scorer in both career points scored and points per game (counting all the formats in league history). In addition to that, he holds the FIBA World Championship scoring records for the highest career points per game average, as well as the most points ever scored at a World Championship tournament, which he set at the 1986 FIBA World Championship.
Galis led the Greek national team to a EuroBasket gold medal in 1987, as well as to a EuroBasket silver medal in 1989, earning the tournament MVP honor in 1987, and being elected to the All-EuroBasket Team both times. Following the stunning success of the EuroBasket title in 1987, he won the Mr. Europa Player of the Year and the Euroscar awards the same year. Galis is widely regarded as one of Europe’s all-time greatest players in professional club basketball history, as well as one of the all-time greatest players in FIBA international basketball history.He is highly revered in Greece, where he is considered by many to be the greatest individual athlete that the country has ever had. His years at Aris lifted Greek basketball from relative obscurity, into common public entertainment, with Galis being the figure that eventually inspired thousands of Greeks to take up the sport of basketball.
Galis made the move across the Atlantic and signed to play with Aris of Thessaloniki, Greece in 1979. Panathinaikos Athens and Olympiacos Piraeus had also shown some interest in signing the newcomer, but it was Aris’ interest that was the most persuasive. His move to the country helped Greek basketball reach heights never before imagined. In 1983, while playing in a game with the Greek national team against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Chapel Hill, Greece’s shooting guard Galis, while being guarded by North Carolina’s shooting guard Michael Jordan, scored 50 points during the game. He played in the 1986 FIBA World Championship, where he led all players in scoring average with 33.5 points per game. In that tournament, he had a 53 point outburst against the Panamanian national basketball team.
Galis next led the Greek national basketball team to the EuroBasket 1987 gold medal. Averaging 37.0 points per game during the tournament, he was named the MVP of the tournament, after scoring 40 points in the final against the Soviet Union national basketball team and its legendary player Šarūnas Marčiulionis for a 103-101 victory.
Galis also led Greece to the second place at the EuroBasket 1989, averaging 35.6 points per game. Galis is remembered for a stunning effort against the Soviet team led by Marčiulionis and its other star player, Arvydas Sabonis, in the semi-final game. He scored 45 out of his team’s 81 total points in a dramatic, last-gasp 81-80 victory.The team settled for a second place finish against the ever-dominant Yugoslavian national basketball team.
Averaging more than 30 points per game every season, Galis was the indisputable leader of Aris Thessaloniki. Playing alongside other great players at Aris such asPanagiotis Giannakis and Slobodan Subotić, Galis won 8 Greek Championships (7 of them consecutively and 3 undefeated, in the years 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991), 6 Greek Cups (4 of them consecutively, in the years 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992), and led Aris to 3 consecutive appearances at the European Champions’ Cup Final Four (1988–1990). In the one disappointment of an otherwise glittering career with Aris, all three European Champions’ Cup appearances ended in defeat in the semi-finals, thus depriving him of the opportunity to shine on Europe’s biggest club stage. The team’s performances and general standard of play however won the heart of every basketball fan in Greece. Indeed, cinemas and theaters would often reduce their admission prices on Thursday evenings when Aris was playing and the entire country settled down to watch them on television.
Versus the current Lakers coach, Mike d’Antoni… mr. d’Antoni’s team Tracer Milan lost once again from the Greek GOD OF WAR, ARIS Thessaloniki
Professional career scoring statistics
|Competition||Games Played||Points Scored||Scoring Average|
|FIBA International Competitions
(Greek National Team)
Greek Championship season by season scoring stats
- (Counting regular season only)
|Season||Competition||Games Played||Points Scored||Scoring Average||Club|
Greek National Team
He averaged 33.3 points per game at the EuroBasket 1983, 33.5 points per game at the 1986 FIBA World Championship, 37.0 points per game at the EuroBasket 1987, 35.6 points per game at the EuroBasket 1989, and 32.4 points per game at the EuroBasket 1991. Galis was only a 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) tall combo guard. In every one of the games that Galis played in these tournaments, the entire defense of every opposing team was focused on stopping his scoring outbursts.
Galis’ top 10 scoring FIBA rules games with the Greek National Team
|Points Scored||Date||Opponents||Final Game Score||Tournament|
|53||7/5/1986||Panama||110-81||1986 FIBA World Championship|
|52||9/10/1984||Poland||88-89||EuroBasket 1985 Qualification|
|49||7/20/1986||China||111-112||1986 FIBA World Championship|
|48||1/4/1981||Finland||101-92||FIBA International Tournament|
|47||11/29/1984||Bulgaria||91-84||1986 FIBA World Championship Qualification|
|47||5/23/1982||Belgium||97-72||EuroBasket 1983 Qualification|
|46||6/20/1986||Netherlands||104-88||1986 Acropolis International Tournament|
|46||11/25/1989||Romania||97-77||EuroBasket 1991 Qualification|
|45||6/24/1989||Soviet Union||81-80||EuroBasket 1989|
Scoring statistics with the Greek National Team in FIBA rules games
|Tournament||Games Played||Points Scored||Scoring Average|
|1980 Olympics Qualification||4||78||19.5|
|FIBA International Tournament (1980–89)||28||853||30.5|
|EuroBasket 1981 Qualification||8||225||28.1|
|1982 Balkan Games||4||97||24.3|
|EuroBasket 1983 Qualification||9||283||31.4|
|1984 Olympics Qualification||9||288||32.0|
|EuroBasket 1985 Qualification||5||178||35.6|
|1984 Balkan Games||3||89||29.7|
|1986 FIBA World Championship Qualification||6||206||34.3|
|1986 Acropolis International Tournament||3||108||36.0|
|1986 FIBA World Championship||10||335||33.5|
|1986 Balkan Games||3||117||39.0|
|1987 Acropolis International Tournament||3||112||37.3|
|1988 Olympics Qualification||9||254||28.2|
|EuroBasket 1989 Qualification||4||146||36.5|
|1989 Acropolis International Tournament||3||113||37.7|
|EuroBasket 1991 Qualification||3||134||44.7|
|1990 Acropolis International Tournament||1||4||4.0|
|1991 Acropolis International Tournament||3||63||21.0|
It has been noted that Galis was not only a legendary scorer, but was also a great play maker and passer. The vast majority of his points scored came inside the paint area due to his penetrating ability. Another enormous competitive advantage that Galis possessed was his incredible stamina, which was due to his exemplary physical condition. This led to his being given the nickname of “Iron Man”. At the EuroBasket 1987, he was never once substituted out of any game after the second day of the competition.
Awards and accomplishments
Galis won numerous titles and awards during his career and had many memorable single game performances. The following are some of them:
- Haggerty Award (New York Metro Area Player of the Year): 1979
- Member of the Seton Hall Athletic Hall of Fame: 1991
- Won 8 Greek Championships: 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
- Won 7 Greek Cups: 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993
(In total, he won 15 championships in his pro club career as a player.)
Personal awards and achievements:
- 11x Greek League Top Scorer: 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
- 8x Euroleague Top Scorer: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994
- Mediterranean Player of the Year: 1987
- 2x European Player of the Year:
- Euroscar European Player of the Year: 1987
- Mr. Europa European Player of the Year: 1987
- World’s 10th Best Athlete (a vote that included all sports and all countries): 1987
- 4x Greek League MVP: 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991
- 4x Greek League Assist Leader: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994
- Euroleague Assist Leader: 1994
- Greek Cup all-time scoring leader: 1,935 points (35.2 ppg)
- Greek League all-time scoring leader: 12,849 points (33.5 ppg)
- Euroleague final stage all-time scoring leader: over 1,000 points
- Euroleague: all-time scoring leader
- He was named one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1991.
- Member of the Eurobasket.com website’s Greek Hall of Fame
- Member of the FIBA Hall of Fame: 2007
- 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors: 2008
- Along with Panagiotis Giannakis, he led Aris Thessaloniki to an 80 game winning streak in the 1980s.
- His personal scoring record in one game was 63 points, achieved in a Greek League game in 1981 (Aris Thessaloniki vs. Ionikos Nikaias). However, in the same game, Ionikos’ superstar Panagiotis Giannakis, who would later go on to become Galis’ teammate on Aris, scored 73 points.
- In 1981, he also had a 61 point game against Iraklis Thessaloniki.
- Also in 1981, he accomplished his career scoring high in a European continental competition, as he scored 57 points against Pallacanestro Venezia during the 1981Korać Cup.
- His high scoring game in the Greek Cup was 57 points against Panellinios Athens in the 1987 cup final.
- Also in 1987, he scored his career high in points in the old FIBA Champions’ Cup (now called the Euroleague), as he scored 50 points in a game against Tracer Milano.
- He also holds 4 of the top 15 all-time individual scoring games in the Euroleague’s modern record era (since 1991-1992).
- He scored 55 or more points in a game 10 times in his professional club career while playing with Aris Thessaloniki and Panathinaikos Athens.
- In 1990, in a Saporta Cup game versus Korihait Uusikaupunki, he dished out 23 assists.
- In 1993, while playing with Panathinaikos Athens in a revenge game against his former team Aris Thessaloniki, he had a game for the ages. Galis shot 13/13 from the field and recorded 19 FIBA assists in the game.
Greek National Team
- In 169 FIBA rules games played with the Greek national basketball team, he averaged 30.6 points per game.
- Galis was the top scorer in every major European and world international competition that he participated in from 1983 onwards, the EuroBasket 1983, the 1986 FIBA World Championship, the EuroBasket 1987, the EuroBasket 1989, and the EuroBasket 1991.
- At the 1986 FIBA World Championship, he scored 53 points in a game against the Panamanian national basketball team.
- In the EuroBasket 1987 final, he scored 40 points against the Soviet Union national basketball team.
- In the EuroBasket 1989 semifinal, he scored 45 points against the Soviet Union national basketball team.
- 1980 Balkan Games: Gold
- 1986 Balkan Games: Gold
- 1986 FIBA World Championship Top Scorer: 1986 (33.5 ppg)
- EuroBasket 1983: All-Tournament Team
- EuroBasket 1987: Gold
- EuroBasket 1987: All-Tournament Team
- EuroBasket 1987: Most Valuable Player
- EuroBasket 1989: Silver
- EuroBasket 1989: All-Tournament Team
- EuroBasket 1991: All-Tournament Team
- 4x EuroBasket Top Scorer: 1983 (33.3 ppg), 1987 (37.0 ppg), 1989 (35.6 ppg), 1991 (32.4 ppg)
- Greek National Basketball Team 2nd all-time scoring leader: 5,163 points (30.6 ppg)