Olympiakos exits U.S. exhibitions leaving trail of alleged death threat
Olympiakos was ordered in U. S. court to pay former U.S. player and agent
Club refused to make payment and threat to player's agent was allegedly made
Olympiakos traveled to U.S. last two weeks to play Spurs and Cavs
While Olympiakos lost both of its exhibition games against NBA teams this week, the Greek basketball club was on the verge of escaping the U.S. Tuesday with its uniforms and other property amid an allegation of a death threat.
At the heart of this strange European tour are outstanding U.S. court judgments demanding that Olympiakos pay $1.1 million to American player Chris Morris, who played for the club in 1999, and $410,000 to his American agent Tom McLaughlin.
On Monday another American agent, Gary Ebert, who also represents Morris, filed a report with police in Shreveport, La., alleging that he received a death threat from someone who claimed to be associated with Olympiakos president and owner Panagiotis Angelopoulos. Ebert tells SI.com that the threat followed a phone conversation he had earlier Monday with Angelopoulos. Ebert says he then received a call from a man with a Greek accent.
"I got a phone call from a Greek cell phone number," says Ebert. "The guy was going off on me to leave Angelopolous alone. I told him I'm going to get the money [owed to Morris]. The guy said, 'Leave him alone, do this through the court.' I said I have the right to call him. He said, 'Look, (expletive), leave Angelopoulos alone or I'll kill you."
Moments later Ebert called back and told the man he didn't appreciate being threatened. "He didn't have much to say that time," says Ebert. "I think he was surprised I had his number."
Ebert says the federal marshall in San Antonio refused last Friday -- before the Olympiakos-Spurs game that night -- to execute a writ from a federal judge to seize the uniforms, airline tickets and other properties of Olympiakos, in addition to monies carried personally by Angelopoulos and the Olympiakos G.M. As a result, Ebert says that he will file a Freedom of Information Act request to discover if anyone might have intervened on behalf of Olympiakos.
After losing Monday to the Cavaliers in Cleveland, Olympiakos was expected to return home to Athens on Tuesday without settling its judgments with Morris and McLaughlin. Ebert says his next move will be to seize upcoming bank transfers to Olympiakos from the Euroleague, which is based in Spain.
"You can write it in blood," says Ebert. "I am going to get the money."
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