No comeback for ex-basketball star Fassoulas

Retired basketballer-turned-politician Panayiotis Fassoulas yesterday said he will stay retired, citing a ban on MPs pursuing professional activities. The 39-year-old Fassoulas, a deputy with the ruling PASOK party for the Piraeus district who entered politics after retiring from basketball three years ago, had considered playing again for Olympiakos after scoring 15 points and pulling in 14 rebounds in a charity game between veterans and Olympiakos on December 30. Fassoulas’s plans had been made public last week by Sports Minister Giorgos Lianis who said the 2.13-meter (7-foot) player had approached him to inquire whether an exemption from the law was possible for a former professional athlete. «I felt that I could play and, most importantly, realized, during my first training sessions, that I had the strength. But there’s a fundamental obstacle, that of my MP status,» said Fassoulas, who smoked two packets a day during his career. «I’ll have to respect the constitution which I’ve sworn to uphold. I’m also obliged to the 32,000 Piraeus voters who honored me with their votes,» he added. Fassoulas, nicknamed «The Spider» for his thin frame and extraordinarily long arms, established himself at PAOK before transferring to Olympiakos in ’93. He was also in Greece’s national team that was crowned European champion in ’87.

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