Euroleague's legend agent talks about Dimitris Diamantidis!
20 Jul 2016
Dimitris Diamantidis farewell party lasted an entire season, the people, the media, fans, opponents or not, honored him with a touching way, but the great leader of Panathinaikos has a lot more to live. The honorary events on his behalf just started. From very close, but far away, indifferent to the spotlight and never to seek publicity, someone was watchinf after him, someone who won the trust of Diamantidis and for 16 years managed his basketball fate and future. Someone might say that agents of the big stars have the easier job, but is a completely wrong approach. Minas Toukmenidis!
The youngest probably have never heard again this name. The older, those who love basketball even before the years of its establishment in Greece, Minas Toukmenidis is synonymous with the pure history of Greek basketball. After a long career in VAO tea , Minas Toukmenidis passed by Aris Thessaloniki, Hraklis, Esperos Kallithea and Makedonikos, but belonged to a different generation. It was a great scorer, product of innocent era of basketball, where the players had only driving force their talent, the ability to put the ball in the basket and mostly love for the game.
He took the Greek championship with Aris Thessaloniki in 1983, a year before was third scorer of the Championship and in 1984, became second scorer behind Nick Galis as Iraklis player. Since 2000, when he began his collaboration with Dimitris Diamantidis, until today he lived everything with him and as he says: "Now, first he is my friend and then my player."
This relationship will now continue on a social level and the man who was behind all the professional relations of Dimitris Diamantidis, decided it was time to share the experience of working with the man tha was for many years the best player in Europe .
"Diamantidis is the same person as everyone. As I've met him myself, the same way the whole Greece know him" originally made the ... recommendations Minas Toukmenidis, who has spent many hours of his life in conversations, hanging out, exchange opinions, with "Mitsos".
"He's a great man! This is the basic element of his personality. I am not going to say something that has not been said. Modestly and humbly, that could be his motto, it's his whole life in all its expressions. Everyone, before they meet him, thought he was a snob guy who had an elitist view. But it is not the case! He's just a shy man. Especially in the early years, when he was younger, he was afraid of exposure. However, as the time passed, when you are stable on something, when not recede from your principles, everybody understands that this is your character. This happened with Diamantidis.
Naturally, he evolved at a tremendous personality. Became more accessible. Smiling sometimes. He even started making jokes. " Dimitris has very developed sense of humor and he even makes fun of him-self."
"He is a man of principles, who loves and cares for those around him. His family is everything, has a pathological love for his parents. He has excellent relations with his friends, childhood. His visits to Kastoria have lessened, but keeps his friendships. He communicates, he is interested, involved, helps. "
- Summer 2004 ... What happened?
"Olympiakos approached us first. We were afraid of Panathinaikos. We had an inhibition, not stemmed from something tangible, something concrete. We had a relative concern for Obradovic and how could Diamantidis be grown with a coach who had very specific things in mind. We had done some collaborations that did not succeed. In the future, of course, it turned out that my fears were completely wrong. So, i should not hide that in my mind i had Olympiakos. It was the year that Kokkalis had essentially withdrawn. Everything around Olympiakos was undertook personally by Stavros Elliniadis. He had understood what it was about. He saw the future of Diamantidis passes frame by frame in front of him and did everything to get him to Olympiakos ... He was so into for Dimitris, that he was taking the plane, fly to Thessaloniki for a few hours, talk and then return to Athens. Our difference was stuck in an amount of about 50 000. If Kokkalis finally gave those 50 grand, the basketball history may have been written differently in Greece. "
- How Panathinaikos came along?
"The interest of Panathinaikos appeared later. After Olympiakos. One morning, I got a phone call to go to Athens to talk with Thanasis Giannakopoulos. And I went! I asked a logical amount and Thanassis Giannakopoulos, just gave it to me. In the contract even though there was a term for the first year of Dimitris to Panathinaikos, which left the sidelines the team to void the contract. But I was very sure about it. And then in December, the term essentially had been disabled. It was logical to have such a condition. Many players from the lower shelf have gone in big clubs. Not everyone succeded. Going to the appointment with Thanasis personally i knew nothing, neither of what Obradovic had told and which were discovered later, neither the general predisposition of Panathinaikos. I walked into the office and talked on the first date, if I remember correctly in the second we had already agreed. We shaked hands. "
- And Olympiacos?
"Meanwhile, Olympiacos had left the negotiations. After our non-agreement, the case was closed. Back then Olympiakos gave an amount 10% bigger than the money Dimitris took at Iraklis. It was not possible to agree. Panathinaikos offered him money, that in my opinion, deserved for the opening season on the highest category of European basketball. All were satisfied. For the second year they treated him as deserved for the player that Obradovic had delivered the keys of the team. That period, in Panathiakos were players like Tsartsaris, Batist, tHatzivrettas, great players ... but in a game that Alvertis was absent, by order of Obradovic, captain anointed Dimitris and not someone else. It was the day when the coach revealed the new leader. "
- Was any incident that surprised you?
"One thing that struck me in Dimitris, was after the Final Four in Barcelona, where he had swept everything with both the club and individual level. Everyone was passind from Panathinaikos hotel after the final four. Almost five thousand and friends of the club had traveled to Spain. Even to touch him, to kiss him, to admire him. I was there and I waited some time to be calmer, without bothering him of course, to speak for a while. When ...everyone left he invited me to a room that was next to the lobby, to sit together for a little while.
He was in his own world... Rather than enjoying what he was living, he was talking about Tuesday's workout and because the team would play for the Greek Cup that week, he was worried for not having enough time to prepare until Thursday. That's Diamantidis. I have known many players. But his own mind works in completely different corners of all the rest. He thinks only the target, he is extremely concentrated. For this reason, Euroleague of 2011 seemed like yet another day at work. It was an amazing moment and i begged him to enjoy it, because he made history. Of course, he thought only about next practise. "
- Was ther a day you thought that probably he needed to leave Panathinaikos?
"The truth is that it never entered into the process leaving Panathinaikos. And I think that we did well. The first 8-9 years collaborated with Thanasis and Pavlos Giannakopoulos was critical. After that we all knew that will not go anywhere. After the second three-year contact we signed was almost a given that Dimitris would end his career in Panathinaikos. He never thought to leave. But there is something else.
Apart from Panathinaikos was also Obradovic. He is very high on his respect. The appreciation that has for the coach is huge. Immeasurable. He learned a great deal. He liked to work with him. They understand each other with incredible ease. The great concern for him, was, by the time Zots left, who will replace him. "
- That summer of '12, crossed his mind to leave?
"No. Neither then! He did not want to leave Panathinaikos, nor because of the withdrawal of Zots. I tell you the truth, I had raised the question, but he didn't even discussed it. Even if Obradovic had gone to a club that year, Diamantidis would stay in OAKA. "