Most people can’t pronounce his name, but he’s one of the best players in the NBA. And he has quite the story about how he got there
Even casual sports fans know the names of the superstars in pro basketball. There is LeBron, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden. But there is one name you may not have heard, mainly because it takes courage and concentration to pronounce it. I’m talking about Giannis Antetokounmpo of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. He is 23 years old, a hair under seven feet tall and there are 13 letters in his last name, most of them consonants, so he is usually referred to as Giannis or ‘The Greek Freak.’ He’s called that because he is Greek and is doing things on a basketball court that people have never seen before. And even if you aren’t a basketball fan you have to admire his athleticism and a personal story that is one of the most interesting in all of sports. If that sounds like hype, we offer into evidence exhibit number one.
Last month, Madison Square Garden. Bucks versus the Knicks. A stolen pass, a fast break. Watch Giannis on the right.
It was so quick, most people missed what actually happened.
You have to slow it down and watch carefully to notice that the Greek Freak leapt right over a flabbergasted 6’6″ defender while catching the ball and stuffing it through the hoop.
The unpronounceable has become the unstoppable.
Steve Kroft: How many steps does it take you to get down the court?
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Full level of the court?
Steve Kroft: Yeah.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Six.
Steve Kroft: How many from the foul line?
Giannis Antetokounmpo: From the foul– one, just one. Maybe none. I can just jump from the foul line I think.
His highlights have gone viral on six continents. Already a two-time All-Star, he’s listed in the program as a forward, but he plays every position from point guard to center, and leads the Bucks in points, rebounds and assists. This one surprised even Giannis.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: The hike pass that I did between my legs. That was one of the most– I was like, wow, I– oh wow, I just did that.
Steve Kroft: Had you ever done it before?
Giannis Antetokounmpo: No.
Steve Kroft: It just came to you?
Giannis Antetokounmpo: It just came.
Steve Kroft: It was a pretty good pass.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah. It was a really good pass.
But it’s his size and his coordination that intimidate. He has a wingspan of 7’3″. And his hands, which are a foot long, are thought to be the largest in the league.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: They’re huge
Steve Kroft: Wow
SOURCE: Steve Kroft