Giannis' Blog: Interview with Nikos Papaioannou of NBA Greece


Recently, Giannis Antetokounmpo, sat down with Nikos Papaioannou (@ndpapaioannou) of NBA GREECE for a lengthy interview at the Milwaukee Bucks Training center. Here are some highlights.

Giannis on how he manages to stay humble with all the fuss around him.

I don’t know. I’m a humble kid. I grew up with Filathlitikos. There were some people in Filathlitikos, that taught to me how to stay humble. It was coach Tzivas, that never allowed me to get carried away. That’s who I am. Even if I’ll be an All Star or Rookie of The Year, I will always be humble Giannis.

On his thoughts when he’s alone.

To be honest, sometimes I’m on the bus going at a game and I ask my self “I’m going at an NBA game! Whats going on man? Really?”. Right now I’m enjoying every moment. Play or not. If I enter the game, or If I don’t play well, or if I’ll have a bad game. I cherish every moment. I come to practice and I feel happy that I am here.

On the toughest challenges he faced coming in the NBA.

The biggest challenge was to get to know everybody on the team. I wasn’t really following the NBA and I didn’t knew much about the Bucks. I had to prove my self to my teammates in order for them to trust me on the court.I had to show to everybody, my teammates, the coach, the GM that I am here. That I belong in the NBA.

On the wisest words he heard so far from a teammate.
Caron Butler, before our first game against the Knicks saw that I was stressed. It was opening night and he told me “No matter what’s going to happen out there, try to have fun, because time goes by quickly. Before you know it you will be 35 and on your last leg”.

On his best moment so far.

If I wasn’t humble, I would say blocking Kevin Durant (laughs). Since I am humble, I would say starting for the first time against the Knicks.

On blocking Kevin Durant.

Right after the block I wondered “How on earth did I do that on Kevin Durant?”. It was a beautiful feeling. Last December the closest I could get on Kevin Durant was when I played 2K and now he’s right in front of me and I try to defend him and score on him. It’s a great feeling.

On his fearless style.

It’s my nature to be fearless. I go out there and I am not worried on who I will face. I understand that I might be facing Kevin Durant or Carmelo or LeBron. I mean I know it, but what am I supposed to do? I’m not gonna tell them “there you go, go ahead and score”. I will try to play hard and do my best. I know that they are 10 times better, not only from me but from most NBA players. But I have to do something about it. I have to earn my living on the court.

On the support he gets from the Greek community in Milwaukee and in North America in general.

It feels good. There many Greeks around. They come up to me, they treat me if I’m out for dinner or lunch. It’s nice because I talk Greek so I wont forget the language. I see the Greek flags on the stands. When we played in Toronto there were like four Greek flags out there and people were chanting “Giannis, Giannis”. Amazing feeling.

On the best and worst part of having money.

The best part is that you stop thinking about little things. On the other hand I don’t fool around with my money. I’m serious about it and I want to spend my money wise. I’m not going to throw away any money. But the best thing is that you don’t think. You can go ahead and buy your brothers presents for Christmas. The worst part is when you realize that people are approaching you because they want something from you.

On playing on Greece’s men’s national team.

I will play for the national team. I hope that I will be invited to the men’s national team. We haven’t got yet the wild card for the men’s World Cup in Spain. So until I know, I will play with the U 20 National Team and try to win gold.

On the intense rhythm of playing and traveling.

Sometimes when one game is over I cant recall who is the next opponent. I go and ask, “who we play next?”. Or when we have back to back and we finish the game I go and ask “In which city are we heading now?”. Sometimes you leave your hotel room to go and get something from the lobby and then on my way back I realize that I cant remember my room number. I ask myself “what’s my room number? Is it 200 or 300?. No it was 300 in the previous hotel”. Or when I order room service and they ask my room number, I have to walk on the door and see it.

On his blog on NBA GREECE and sport24.gr.

People that come to watch me playing, just see a basketball player for 48 minutes on the floor. They don’t know my personality. How I lead my life off the court. I believe it’s only right to share some stuff with the fans, the people, about your life. Off course there are limits. I’m not going into details on really personal matters. But it’s nice to blog on NBA GREECE once a month or so.

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