Loic Schwartz had seen and done it all in Belgium and it was a religion-like love of basketball in Greece that brought him to Promitheas Patras for his first time playing outside his native country.
The 29-year-old Schwartz had helped Oostende to four Belgium championships and two Belgium Cups in his four seasons with the club. He began his professional career with Mons-Hainaut before moving to Verviers-Pepinster and Spirou Charleroi and then landing with powerhouse Oostende.
The domination in Belgium was enough for Schwartz, who wanted to see something new.
“I felt like I had done all I could do in the Belgian competition. Having won four times in a row the championship it was time for me to discover something new,” said Schwartz, a native of Brussels.
The thought of leaving Belgium had surfaced in the past, but it was never strong enough for Schwartz to act on it.
“Sometimes I would think about trying my luck in another country, but it wasn’t the right time for me. I didn’t want to leave before being successful where I was,” he said.
When Schwartz said it was time for a new adventure, he recalled his times playing in Greece in pan-European competitions and the amazing feeling in those road games.
“The atmosphere in the stadium and the fans definitely drew me to Greece. They treat it like a religion here, so it’s enjoyable to play for them,” he said.
While Schwartz knew about the basketball culture before coming to Hellas, he said he really couldn’t prepare himself for living in a different country for the first time.
“You can’t really prepare to go to a new country because you can never really know what’s waiting for you,” he said.
To help him get more out of life in Greece, Schwartz has regularly worked on adding to his vocabulary of the challenging Greek language.
“It’s a challenge trying to read the language, but I try to learn a new word every day and I hope I’ll leave here with a good basis in Greek,” he said.
Schwartz said he was really excited about coming back to the competition for the first time since 2015-16 when he was 23 years old and playing for Charleroi.
“My first time in the EuroCup I was too young and inexperienced, so I couldn’t wait to come back and show my improvement and how far I’ve come,” said Schwartz.
And while you can take Schwartz out of Belgium, you cannot take the Belgian out of Schwartz. When asked what he misses most about Belgium, he answered: “Bread.” And for the thing he likes least about living in Greece, again: “Bread”. He also doesn’t miss the Belgian rain and enjoys the weather in Greece.
Schwartz also has a tourist goal in mind during his time in his home away from home: “As far as Greece goes I would love to go see the ancient temple dedicated to Zeus in Olympia.”
Loic Schwartz may have seen and done most of it all in Belgium, but there are plenty of new things for him in Greece with Promitheas Patras.