Giannis Antetokounmpo was in Manhattan at the NBA Lottery last night, which makes sense, because the question on everyone’s mind was mostly, “Which young player are the Bucks going to pair with Giannis?” So it made complete sense for him to be there, and his interviews did not disappoint, revealing a mix of dedication, earnestness, and hope for the future.
Interview with Jonathan Givony of Draft Express:
Giannis, on his interviewing skills:
Antetokounmpo: “I always look at the interview you took from me when I was in Greece and I see how young I was. That was my first NBA interview.”
Givony: “Your English is a lot better.”
Antetokounmpo: “Yeah, I know. I know.”
Givony: “But your English was good then.”
Antetokounmpo: “No, it wasn’t.”
Givony: “You were very confident in it.”
Antetokounmpo: “I was confident in it, but my English was bad then.”
Then later, on being the face of the franchise:
Givony: “What does it mean for you that people are looking at you now as the face of the franchise for Milwaukee. They selected you to come over here and represent them. What does that mean?”
Antetokounmpo: “It means a lot. It was a nice gesture from the Bucks and from the owners to bring me over here. It was a nice experience for me. It means a lot. I love the Bucks, and the Bucks love me too.”
I don’t recall any of the recent ‘Faces of the Bucks’ sharing such sentiments.
Interview with Derrel Johnson of Razz and Jazz Sports:
Giannis, on enjoying life away from the court:
Johnson: “What are some non-basketball things you enjoy doing during the offseason?”
Antetokounmpo: “Like hobbies?”
Antetokounmpo: “I like spending time with my family. I like practicing. So, I think that’s it.”
Johnson: “Are you into any non-basketball-related hobbies that you have?”
Antetokounmpo: “Non-basketball? Just spending time with my family. I’m a boring guy.”
Interview with Bucks.com:
Giannis, on meeting the new owners of the Bucks:
“They’re really good guys, you know. I thought they were going to be more like <scrunches nose> — at the end of the day, they’re my bosses. But they are really good guys.”
Perhaps more importantly, though, Giannis wasn’t the only one saying all the right things. His boss was too. After decades of a murky decision-making split between former owner Herb Kohl and his appointed general managers, new co-owner Wesley Edens vowed to leave basketball choices in the hands of basketball people.
“Yeah, we’re not the basketball people, we’re the owners, right? So we’re fans, like you’re a fan. I’m quite confident I won’t be making the decisions. We have thoughts about it like you have naturally in any business. We’ve owned a lot of businesses.
“But in the end, we want the professionals to give us their evaluations and that’s what we intend: to work with them and be a part of it for sure and we’ll see how it all turns out.”
Amen, Wesley. Amen. It certainly feels like a new era of Bucks basketball.