GRE - Greek heroes get stamp of approval
ATHENS (EuroBasket 2005) - Greece are commemorating the national team's EuroBasket 2005 gold medal triumph in Belgrade by issuing a series of stamps to recognise the achievement.
The stamps are being printed to highlight the latest feat and will be unveiled at a big ceremony in Athens on Monday.
Greece, who finished second in Group C to Slovenia, went on to beat Israel in the elimination round before coming from behind against Russia and France in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.
The Greeks then played their best game of the tournament against a Dirk Nowitzki-led Germany to win 78-62 and capture the title.
The success, played out before a Belgrade Arena packed with Greek fans who made the short journey to Serbia & Montenegro, set off a massive celebration in Athens with supporters converging on Amonio Square while thousands of well-wishers greeted their heroes upon their arrival at the Athens airport the following day.
Basketball has been important in Greece since Panagiotis Yannakis, the coach of the national side, helped the country win the EuroBasket crown in 1987 as the team captain and point guard.
Yannakis and his players have already been honoured at a ceremony by Greece President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and the leader of PASOK, Giorgos Papandrou.
The president of another political party, Synaspismos, Alekos Alavanos, also met team at the Hellenic Federation of Basketball.