Orhun Özdemir of Trend Basket has an interview with Kostas Papanikolaou, who currently plays for Olympiacos in Greece, in which the Greek forward expresses a desire to play in the NBA. The Portland Trail Blazers acquired the rights to Papanikolaou in a 2012 sign-and-trade that sent Raymond Felton to the New York Knicks.
You started playing in Europe while you were 18. What is your plan for the future? Staying in Europe or going to the NBA? You were drafted by Knicks but Blazers have your rights now.
Yes of course. When you are younger you want to be Kobe Bryant or Lebron James but it has to be on the right terms. Sometimes it wouldn't be a good decision to go but I want to go there if I got the chance. I have a dream to play in the NBA.
How did you start playing basketball?
My Story is a bit funny actually. Because when we were young I was playing voleyball with my brother but then they opened a basketball school in our city and all my friends were registered there. Of course I wanted to be with my friends and decided to give it a try, quiting voleyball. I saw that I'm more confident and talented while playing basketball. If I'm not wrong I started playing basketball when I was 13.
Who's your Idol?
There are lots of players but number one is Nikos Galis. Also Vlade Divac, Drazen Petrovic and Peja Stojakovic are good european players that can be good examples and idols for me.
Papanikolaou, 22, was a second-round pick by the Knicks in the 2012 NBA Draft and is listed as a 6-foot-8, 230-pound small forward.
It was reported in November 2012 that the Blazers were interested in importing Papanikolaou for the 2013-14 season.
The Blazers also acquired the rights to Georgios Printezis last summer but traded them to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the trade deadline move that landed Eric Maynor.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter