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Giannis' exclusive interview with Greek site Sport24.gr (Part 2)

Sorry I kind of lost track of this one. Here's the second part of the interview.

"The National Team and the Old Neighbourhood"


Today (c.c. 16th of January) is the day when they will distribute in the court a poster of you, your picture as a rookie and you as a player now that you have grown even taller. What do the doctors say, how tall can you become?

I don't know. The doctors tell me I could be getting taller for three more years.

How tall are you now?

I think I might be 2.09-2.10 m. I went for some exams and the doctors observed some gaps in my hands, which should not be there. Normally I should have stopped growing by now. But the doctors say that these gaps are on 14 year old kids and that I might have 3 to 5 more years to grow.

Did that cause any difficulties in your game or it didn't make much difference?

It makes no difference. Even if I grow to be 2.20 I will still be an periphery player, run the floor and pass the ball.

You won't move in the paint then?

No, never never.

In about a month you will be in New Orleans for the All Star Weekend and the Rookie Challenge..

Hopefully, hopefully! I don't know. Knock on wood though!

"In the summer? Old neighbourhood and National team?"


Gianni, when the season is over, will you come to Athens in the summer?

Yes. I will come to Athens. I'm going to go see my friends, my coaches, my old neighbourhood, my team Filathlitikos, and play with the National team (c.c. youth team).

Will you play this summer?

Yes, we will. I hope they call me for the Men's team. We still haven't got the Wild Card right? Then we are going for the gold in the U20. Papapetrou, Agravanis, Bochoridis, Kamperidis. We are going for the gold.

You will face (c.c. on the 16th) two other Greeks, against Memphis, Koufos and Kalathes. What do you know of each one?

We played for the first time as opponents in the pre season. I watched Kalathes when he was playing in the National team and Panathinaikos. I was 15. They are good kids. They look like good kids and it is nice to get to know them, play against them. It will be nice to have more Greeks on the floor with me.

Imagine if we get the WIld Card and the starting five is Spanoulis, Kalathes, Papanikolaou, you, and Koufos. Good one no?

It will be good. We'll see. I hope they call me.

This interview will be seen by many of your friends. A lot of friends from Filathlitikos, many friends from your neighbourhood. In general, many friends in Greece. What do you want to tell them? I know that people are generally sending you messages on Facebook and on the page in NBA Hellas. What do you want to say to all those spending their nights (c.c. time difference makes the games an overnight activity!), to see what Giannis is doing? Or, the first thing they do in the morning, is to see what Giannis has done last night?

Of course, I would like to thank me for supporting me, for watching me, staying up all night. I want to tell you guys thank you very much. I will soon be in Greece, and see you up close. I will do anything I can to make you proud.

Here I would say...

Wait, wait, I want to talk about Filathlitikos. For Filathlitikos..it was the best years of my life. I will go back in the summer and the first thing I will do is to meet my old team and teamates. See coach Zivas, and coach Velliniati who discvered me, the president, Gianni Smirli, and we will have a nice summer.

From the old neighbourhood and your old team, what is that one thing that you miss more here in the US? The one thing you long for.

The old climate.

Hanging out? Walkign to the court?

Walking to the court. Coach Zivas telling me things. I knew where everything was in the court. I had the keys. I knew what to do. I knew where the roof was leaking. I knew everything. Here in the Bucks you can't do that because the training center is too big. We also have a number of courts, and we travel alot. Here you are just focused on playing basketball.

"Where do we fly to now?"


With this pace of the NBA games, is there a point where you don't know to which city you are?

Some times, when the game is over, I don't know who we play next. I go and ask: "who do we play now?. They say "Hourston" and I say "ok". Or when it is back to back and the game is over, I ask: "where do we fly now?" and they say "Ocklahoma". Sometimes you go to your room, shut the door, go down to pick up something, and then you don't know where your room is. You think: "where the well was I? 200? Or 300?. No, I was 300 in the previous hotel". Or you can order room service and they say "Room?" and you are like "oh yeh, room". You go out of the door and see which one.

Which one of your teamates do you hang out the most?

I hang out with everyone. Mostly with Nate, because we are both rookies. But I hang out with everyone.

"I am glad Thanassis is here"

You are confident with driving now? Are you licensed?

Ye I'm doing fine.

Of course here it is easy, you dont kneed to park or anything. Just go straight.

Ye, straight. No uphills. It is weird. Automatic. Parking is easy. A lot of snow though. It is slippery.

Did the fact that your brother came to the US help you psychologically? Because you have family here, someone you can talk at any time.

It is nice that Thanassis is here in the US yes. We talk every day, about everything. We talk about basketball. He calls me after every game and asks me how I did. Some times he comes and watches me and I will also go and watch him soon. We are close.

"KD not LeBron"


Until the season finishes, where do you want to improve as a player? What are the goals you have set? In which areas do you want to improve the most?

What I would really want to improve is catch and shoot. When you step out of the scrin and you shoot immediately. You need very good footwork and explosiveness. It is not easy for a kid of 2.09m. The only one that does it well is KD. I want to improve that and also I want to improve in all basketball ways. THat means learn the systems and the philosophy of the NBA.

Do you feel your body changed or changing? THat you are starting to become stronger than six months ago? How much has this helped your game, or made it harder?

I don't believe that my body will ever be like LeBron! I am getting stronger, definitely stronger. I was watching some old videos of mine and some videos from nowadays, and my body has changed, along with my body language. I think that makes me even better. I am taller and more explosive than I was before.

Gianni, one last thing before we let you go take a shower and rest for the game. There is a lot of talk on your blog in Greece, and in the US. A lot of people say that you are the best blogger in the NBA right now. How important is it for you to share with people what you experience here every day?

Well, most people come and see me every day, for 48 minutes. They don't know me as me, my personality. How I act in my daily life. It is nice to communicate with people, about your life, in some limits. You won't tell them everything. But it is nice to talk to them once a month.

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