Naz Mitrou-Long shares Greek passport update, confirms meeting with Itoudis in Milan

Giorgos Kyriakidis
2022-09-24 10:51

Naz Mitrou-Long opened up to BasketNews about his Greek passport case, the discussion he had with Dimitris Itoudis in Milan, and his goals with EA7 Emporio Armani Milan.

Credit: EA7 Armani Milan
Credit EA7 Armani Milan

It may have taken Nazareth Mitrou-Long no less than 29 years to come to Greece, but when he finally set foot in the country where his mother was born, the visit paid dividends. 

"It feels amazing. I had time to go to the Acropolis. The food is amazing. I love it. It's everything my mother said it was," the Canadian-born combo guard tells BasketNews from Athens. 

Of course, 29 years equals roughly 99.5% of Mitrou-Long's life so far, since he had his birthday on August 3.

Nazareth Mitrou-Long

Nazareth  Mitrou-Long
Team: EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
Position: SG, PG
Age: 29
Height: 193 cm
Weight: 95 kg
Birth place: Canada

He grew up in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, with his parents Jersey Long and Georgia Mitrou coming from diverse backgrounds. His father is of Trinidadian descent, while his mother is a Greek-Canadian, as she was born in Sparta and then immigrated to Canada along with her family when she was a child.

However, Greece's relationship with the Mitrou-Long family hasn't been simple. His mother was the first to apply for a Greek passport. Then came Naz and his brother, Elijah, who played in Greece for the last couple of seasons.

Credit Vangelis Stolis

In an interview with BasketNews last February, Mitrou-Long pointed out that once the case is closed, he won't make any attempt whatsoever to conceal his emotions.

"I will be very excited, ecstatic when that day comes when I have the passport in my hands," he said with sheer excitement.

"The day it becomes official, I'm going to have the passport lying down on the table, and I'm going to take a picture of it. That's how you all know it's official."

The much-coveted passport that will make Naz Mitrou-Long and his brother Elijah eligible to join the Greek NT has been one of the most time-consuming and dragging cases in the recent history of Greek basketball. However, it seems that there's some light at the end of the tunnel. 

"It's going well," the former Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers guard says. "We've done anything that we can as far as certain things and the logistics. We're just waiting for everything to get closed. I'm hearing there's a strong possibility that I can have it before the end of the season. That's what I'm hoping," he informs. 

Credit EA7 Armani Milan

Regardless of how much longer his passport will take to be issued, Mitrou-Long has already had the first discussion with Greece NT coach Dimitris Itoudis about potentially joining the squad once the issue has been settled. According to Greek outlet Apexsports, the player met with the team's GM Nikos Zisis in Milan, just before the squad flew to Berlin for the final round of EuroBasket.

Although it's still unclear when and under which conditions Mitrou-Long might join Greece in the future, he confirms that he and Itoudis talked in the fashion capital a couple of weeks ago.  

"Coach said that he's looking very much forward to me joining the team," he adds. 

Is Mitrou-Long looking forward to it as well? "Absolutely, I am," he replies with no hesitation.  

But, contrary to what the player would have originally envisioned, his very first visit to Greece isn't for sightseeing. EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, the team he signed with after an extremely productive campaign with Brescia last season, is participating in the 4th Pavlos Giannakopoulos tournament, hosted by Panathinaikos BC Athens. The tournament also features reigning EuroLeague champs Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv.

Armani Milan debuted in the tourney with a convincing 80-71 win over the Israeli powerhouse, as Mitrou-Long scored a game-high 19 points on 7/14 from the field. After the game, the Italian side's coach, Ettore Messina, didn't spare praise for his player's work ethic.

"He’s a very important player for us because he can create a shot. He's a great guy, very humble, he works a lot every day. He can give us a lot on the court," the Italian tactician said. 

Mitrou-Long returns the compliment, referring to his overall experience with the club so far. 

"It's nothing short of what everybody says. They all demand excellence. It starts with coach Messina. He wants you to be great, not only for you but for the program as well. He demands excellence out of himself, the coaching staff, and his peers. I'm very thankful to be in this position," the Iowa State graduate stresses.

Mitrou-Long signed with Armani Milan in late June, a few days after the team had prevailed over Virtus Bologna in the Serie A finals. There were several rumors about him signing with either of the Greek EuroLeague teams, especially Panathinaikos. Nevertheless, Milan were quick to secure his services for the next two seasons. 

"Right now, I'm focused on doing the best that I can to help bring the EuroLeague title to Milan, alongside my great teammates. From there, we will go on," the Ontario-born guard says.

"But people are asking as if I have my mind in other places. I do not. I'm here in Milan right now and I'm looking at Milan for the long run. I love it; I love Italy, I love coach Messina and my teammates as well," he concludes.

 



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