P.A.O.K (which stands for Panthessalonikios Athlitikos Omilos Konstantinopoliton) was founded by Greeks of Constantinople in 1926 and two years later the basketball section was founded. Basketball, which started in Greece from the open YMCA arena in Thessaloniki, commenced early for PAOK when Alekos Alexiadis, a young member of PAOK's Board of Directors, decided to move on with the creation of the basketball section.
During the first years of PAOK's historic run, the players that were basically the founding fathers of what ensued for the team were: Alekos Alexiadis, Aristofanis Anagnostopoulos, Alekos Vogiatzopoulos, Georgios Ginalis, Leonidas Iordanidis, Stavros Ourailoglou, Gervant Tarkovian and Dimitris Chalkias.
After the end of World War II, Alekos Alexiadis, who was the team's founder, put the team back in play as there was a long pause due to the war and the living conditions of the time. The team was put together by basically just young players, but that same young core managed to reach the top in the following years. With Alekos Alexiadis as the team's coach (and Takis Taliadoros and Chr. Chrysis later on) PAOK took some big steps forward during the 50's and finally captured the league title (the team's first title overall) in 1959.
Capturing the title enabled PAOK to participate in the European Champions Cup. Facing Romanian champion SSA Bucharest, PAOK took part in its first European Games. During the late 60's and the early 70's there seemed to be a significant lapse in the team's success. During the middle of the 70's PAOK may have been a part of European competitions once again and even captured the league's 3rd place, but during the 1976-77 season, the team needed to defeat Dimokritos in a barrage game (the team won 66-53 led by 28 points from Manthos Katsoulis) in order to stay in the league's first division.
Since the very first years of the 80's PAOK seemed rejuvenated and looked like the team had put aside all of the bad seasons and was ready to fight for glory. Panagiotis Fasoulas debuted in the 1980-81 season and remained the team's mainstay for over ten years. For the first time in team history, PAOK reaches the League Cup final, but fails to capitilize, even while playing in the team's home arena (Alexandreio), were the team loses 63-65. In 1983 PAOK gets really close to the league title but finishes 3rd and finally, the team captures the Greek Cup in 1984. PAOK defeats the great rival Aris 74-70, in a full gym, in the final that later remained known as the Final of the Shaved Heads.
The presence of Nikos Vezyrtzis in the team's front office, as well as the record transfer (at that point) of Nikos Stavropoulos from Larissa (for 10.000.000 drachma), are the two things that made the 1983-1984 season special from the beginning and marked the start of an endless effort from the team to reach its peak. The following season, the famous Croatian coach Josip Gjergja arrived and the team signed some players with lots of experience (Giatzoglou, Sakelariou) to fit in with the team's core (Stavropoulos, Fasoulas, Katsoulis, Politis, Bakopoulos)
From that season, PAOK signs its first foreigners. The flashy and effective scorer Bill Varner and center Dick Moma, are the first American players in PAOK's history. Great players like Delaney Rudd, Mark Simpson and Mark Petway later followed.
The 1988-89 season starts with Bane Prelevic debuting, the player that later changed the course of PAOK's basketball history, while Mike Jones is the firsrt American player that PAOK uses in the Greek league. Despite also having John Korfas from 1986, PAOK is once again second. Even worse, coach Johnny Neuman's decision to shove Italian referee Grossi in Belgrade in a match against Red Star, puts an undeserving end to the team's presence in the Korac Cup that season.
After two Cup finals and two runs at the League Title end in defeat, PAOK sends a message across Europe, when the team reaches the semifinals of the European Champions Cup, where the team is eliminated by Virtus Bologna, mostly due to inexperience. However, on the 26th of March 1991 in Geneva, PAOK's will to win and amazing show of force during the whole game, lifts the team to a 76-72 win over Zaragoza and the club's first European title. The loss of the Greek Cup (defeated by Panionios 73-70), as well as the League Title (in the memorable play offs by Aris) didn't ground anyone.
In 1992, for the second consecutive season PAOK took part in the European Champions Cup final, with Dusan Ivkovic as Coach. This time against Real Madrid, the team lost the title by a field goal from Brown in game's final moment, after a critial turnover from Fasoulas. Despite the let down, PAOK managed to close the season in great fashion, by capturing the second championship of the team's history.
From the 1992-93 season, the league allowed teams to have two forreign players playing. So alongside Barlow, came 2 time NBA champion Cliff Levingston from the Chicago Bulls. Having Korfas playing in Europe and Boudouris with many showings before his 22nd birthday, PAOK plays amazing basketball, which garners respect and admiration from all of Europe. The team reaches the Final Four in Athens, but finds Beneton Trevizo standing in the way. A new dissapointment, bigger than any other. Nikos Vezyrtzis hands the team to Apostolos Oikonomidis, Panagiotis Fasoulas leaves and so do Barlow and Levingston.
With Walter Berry and Zoran Savic as the two foreign players the team was allowed to have, Soulis Markopoulos assuming Ivkovic's position from the middle of the season and many new faces (Galakteros, Rentzias) PAOK becomes the first Greek team to ever capture a second European title. Playing amazing basketball, the team defeats Stefanel in Trieste and with two wins takes home the Korac Cup. The team loses the League Title in the details but the effort goes on.
In 1995, PAOK captures yet another title, the Greek Cup, in the first Final Four of the Cup to ever take Place, in Lamia. The team has changed significantly, with Prelevic being (like in Trieste) the captain and clear intentions for new talent to come to the team (while Korfas leaves), which continues to chase for the highest honors in Europe. In 1996, PAOK having a new front office and presidency, plays for the last time in a European Final. The team is defeated (81-88) in Vitoria from the home team, Taugres, but has a team with experience and incredible talent. It's not a coincidence that Stojakovic and Retzias are selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft the following summer.
With Apostolos Alexopoulos as president, for the first time after 9 years without Bane Prelevic, with a French Head Coach (Gomez) and Scott Skiles starting the year as a player and finishing as the team's coach (in a prophetic move), PAOK fails in Europe but turns the table around and earns a place in Euroleague, even without an injured Stojakovic.
Peja comes back the following season and with his crucial three pointer the team (which has Zvi Sherf as coach) reaches the League Final and of course, Euroleague.
In 1999, PAOK wins its last title, the Greek Cup, after some great showings. The team defeats Aris with a then-record margin of 33 points (83-50) in the semifinal and easily defeats AEK in the final as well (71-54). The team's captain, Giorgos Balogiannis lifts the trophy in the Peace and Friendship Stadium, which has been packed with PAOK fans. Walter Berry (returning after 5 years) wins the MVP trophy of the games, and with Frankie King they form a dynamic and effective duo.
The start of the new millenium finds PAOK winning earing yet another place in Euroleague, but first has the team finding a new arena. PAOK Sports Arena opens its gates, but the team's relocation in it will be in the middle of unfortunate events that will put a stop to the previous years' success. With a new owner, the president of the football team at the time, Giorgios Batatoudis, a roster worth hundreds of millions of drachma (Sigalas, Liadelis, Koronios, Coldebella), Giannoulis as the captain, Kostas Flevarakis back as coach (with whom the team had won the Cup in '99) and many dreams, PAOK starts the 2000-01 season with goals of winning European titles, but after a while, the dream turns into a nightmare.
The same luck would find all ensuing efforts. The special debt settlement with the government left a sour taste for all. The team goes through a lot of tough times, with huge financial problems and from the 2001-02 has a court administration with Vassilis Oikonomidis as president, Lefteris Subotic as the team's coach at the start of the season and Vaggelis Alexandris coaching at the end of it. The debt settlement gives PAOK the ability to start over again, and that's exactly what happens. With a core of young players (Vassileiadis, Vassilopoulos, Mavrokefalidis), Bane Prelevic as Head Coach and from January 17 2004 Takis Paneloudis as the owner of the newly formed B.C., PAOK starts all over. The effort doesn't end like one would expect and mostly the fans that supported the team as always for the new beginning. PAOK goes through a rough patch once again, has another appointed administration (with Vaggelis Galatsopoulos as president), and the team's Odyssey in the 2007-08 season is a sorrow memory, as well as the following season, even if it's for different reasons.
From June 2009, PAOK is run by a court appointed administration with the sole aim of establishing financial stability and the smooth running of operations for the team. The first president of the new administration was Miltiadis Kanoas (2009-11). From the summer of 2009, a PAOK legend, Nikos Stavropoulos has assumed the role of General Manager. Finally, Bane Prelevic has been the president of PAOK B.C. since the summer of 2011, who after having assumed the positions of Player, Head Coach and General Manager, has finally taken the highest position there is.