In the summer of 2013, I watched the NBA summer. Milwaukee was playing. They has just drafted a skinny 6’9″ African kid from Greece. He didn’t look Greek to me but whatever I thought as I kept watching. They were playing him as a lead guard and he was making a ton of mistakes, missing shots, bad decisions, but the Bucks were high on him.
Fast forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most unstoppable players in the league. Now 6’11” and full body frame, he is living in the paint, has more dunks than some NBA teams. His stats are off the charts. The scary part is that he still hasn’t mastered the jump shot but still manages to fill every part of the stat sheet. Not only is he playing well, but his team just won an NBA Championship. He had 50 points in the close out game.
“When I looked at him I could not understand why he identified as Greek because he is of African descent.”
Off of the court, be beloved by his countrymen; Milwaukee natives and greek population. When I looked at him I could not understand why he identified as Greek because he is of African descent. Ignorant of me to put in him in a box because in the end, how cares. He has every right to identify with any group and they with him. That is what brings people together. His influence goes so far that I don’t think that he really understands how he’s galvanized the basketball world, the city of Milwaukee Wisconsin, Greece and the continent of Africa. He has been hope.
His loyalty and commitment are rare. Milwaukee had not won a championship since 1971. He had an opportunity to leave and go play for another team but elected to stay with the Bucks. It’s also been said that he’s not the most skilled player but somehow he’s dominating the league. All of the boxes that I normally checked to stamp a player as great, don’t apply to Giannis but his energy, effort and toughness supersede the tangible skills.