Giannis’ offseason back in Greece includes streetball, Olympic qualifying
When the Milwaukee Bucks drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013, let’s face it, many people didn’t know much about the young Greek star. And let’s face it, he was playing for a lower-level team in Greece, so a lack of knowledge certainly was understandable.
Of course, three years later, Antetokounmpo is brimming on the edge of stardom, especially after taking over the point guard position for the Bucks and recording five triple-doubles late in the season.
However, there’s one place where Antetokounmpo has been known and popular the entire time: His home country.
Recently, Giannis returned to Greece with his brother, Thanasis, who was a 2014 draft pick by the Knicks and played briefly with New York this past season. The pair are hosting a few streetball games in their native land. The brothers play on opposite teams and in their first matchup, which was held this past weekend, Giannis tallied 57 points to his brother’s 55, however Thanasis’ team was victorious 114-11.
A couple of videos have been posted from the event and let’s just say defense was not a premium at the game, which was held in front of a fairly large crowd with the Gulf of Heraklion providing a beautiful backdrop.
If you understand Greek you’ll enjoy this one, although the chants of "Giannis" by the crowd are plainly heard (not to mention Queen’s "We Will Rock You").
Greece certainly is embracing Giannis, as he is one of the featured athletes in Nike’s "Just Do It Greece" Olympics advertisement.
Giannis will try and help Greece win a 2016 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin, Italy later this summer. Greece is one of six teams competing in Italy along with Mexico, Iran, Tunisia, Croatia and Italy, with only the winner advancing the Olympics.