Pavlos Giannakopoulos, the man who “changed the course of history in Greek basketball and Greek sports” passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 89.
Giannakopoulos, the founder of Greek pharmaceutical giant Vianex and co-owner of the Panathinaikos basketball club from 1987 to 2012, passed away on the same date (June 10) that he became involved with Panathinaikos in 1971.
His death comes just a month after that of his brother, Costas. Now both the company and the club are passed down to Pavlos’ son, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, who is deputy CEO of Vianex.
During Giannakopoulos’ leadership, Panathinaikos won six EuroLeague championships (1996, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2011) and became one of the top names of European basketball.
“The Vianex family bids a humble farewell to its founder and president with deep sorrow and inexpressible pain,” the company announced on Sunday, adding that the company’s flags would fly at half-mast until after Giannakopoulos’ funeral.
Panathinaikos BC hailed Giannakopoulos as a force who “changed the course of history in Greek basketball and Greek sports.”
Greece’s sports and political figures expressed their grief for the passing of the man who put Greek basketball in the European echelon.