As evidenced in the Instagram video he posted (below), Giannis Antetokounmpo can dunk without jumping.
Sure, his feet leave the floor on the shot, but the 6’10” (and growing?) Antetokounmpo gets airborne without running or jumping. He just glides up and puts the dunk down from the top of his walking gait. Impressive.
Beyond the feat itself, though, look at his face after the dunk. What a face. It’s not canned, scripted or forced. Seeing that joyous glance the moment before the video freezes is the budding promise that hardened Bucks fans need after trudging through years of players who didn’t appreciate playing in Milwaukee.
That’s not to say that the current Bucks lack that appreciation. John Henson and Larry Sanders doled out fine compliments to the city this summer, but Giannis’ smile may say even more without actually saying a thing. It says he’s delighted to be playing basketball. It says he’s thrilled to be in the NBA. It’s says he’s happy to be a Buck.
Antetokounmpo came from a place where hope was scarce. His parents moved their family from Nigeria to Greece to find a better life, then sold trinkets and picked oranges when it became nearly as difficult to make a living in their adopted country. Life was tough on Giannis too, as he scrapped along with his family to find with housing, clothes and shoes — sometimes even food.
“Yes, we did have some hard times growing up in Greece,” he says. “But if you took me back in time and asked me to live my life again, I’d do it.”
Now he’s on a team where, in a far more trivial way, hope fled a long time ago. Let the teenager, the who dreamed big dreams just to make it to this point, again aspire to a great challenge: to be the one to bring it back.