Panayoti Giannakis Almost Played for the Celtics?

"If everyone judges him by what he is and not what his name is he's got a chance."- Northeastern coach Dick Dukeshire on Panayoti Giannakis' chances to make the Celtics

Did you know Panayoti Giannakis almost played for the Celtics?  It's true!  How else would we have the above picture?  In case you didn't recognize the gentleman to the left of Quinn Buckner, it's none other than Panayoti Giannakis.  Panayoti was drafted by the Celtics in the 1982 draft with the 205th overall pick  He must've suited-up in some pre-season games but he never played in a regular season game with Boston or anyone else.

Remember 1982 was still a bold time to try and convince folks that a European player was better than an American; most just weren't believing it.

As for Giannakis, he was a Greek national who had played one season at Hellenic College.  That was the location that the Celtics used as their facility for their preseason camp back in the day.  Giannakis grew up in the ghetto in Nikea, Greece dreaming one day of playing pro ball.  In his only year at the Greek Orthodox college, the 6'4 guard averaged 25 ppg.  He struggled at the time with his English a bit.

Not to be confused with the other Greek Legend, almost Celtic, Nick Gallis, Giannakis went on to his own very successful career overseas.  In fact the two dueled it out, going at each other in a game in January of 1981 where Giannakis scored 73 points but his team (Ionikos Nikaias) lost to Gallis and Aris Thessaloniki, 114-113.  As for Nick?  He dropped 62 of his own in the win.

In fact Giannakis won multiple Greek League Championships and Greek Cup Championships and was also a part of 5 Euroleague Final Fours, of which he won it all in 1996.

Can you imagine Johnny Most trying to pronounce his name?  He didn't do particularly well with foreign player names.  Perhaps he would've called him by his nickname, "The Dragon."  What an awesome nickname.

So he never made the Celtics.  But did he get to appear in one of those preseason games from 1982?  Does anyone remember?

All I know is Panayoti Giannakis almost played for the Celtics.  And now you know that too.