Antetokounmpo Interview: Giannis and Thanasis talk about everything!

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Giannis Greek OTEtv translation:

Participants: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and Vasilis Skoudis.

0:00 - 1:20
Show introduction, Giannis and Thanasis jokingly take over the show and the host comes in calling them out while making fun.

1:20- 2:27
Host introduces Giannis and Thanasis as one who plays for the Bucks and other is trying to take steps to get to the NBA as well. He tells them how grateful Greeks are and welcomes them back home. Host proceeds jokingly to say that Giannis lost to Thanasis, while Giannis replies "You know, big players like me have memory loss when they lose so they look towards the next game, so I don't remember losing against Thanasis," and both proceed to laugh.


Skoudis (host): As Kids did you have any childhood struggles/frustrations between you as you know brothers fighting and disagreeing. Did you have you have such situations, and was there any competition between you two?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo
: To be honest, from my point of view as I was bigger it was quite difficult when we were kids, so there wasn't much room of to be jealous of one another. So the only thing we did was help each other in order to survive and move forward in life.

Skoudis(host): What are you planning this summer? You played in an unannounced game last year and we saw many people gathered at Sepolia ( city in Athens), but this year it looks much more organized.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: We just want to thank the people for the support they give us and this is a way to do that, thank our friends, fans and do it in a way that we know which is by playing basketball. We are having fun this way and we will try to let people have fun as well.

Skoudis(host):Will you play on the same team or you will go against one another?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: We will see. We wanted to play together, but like I've said, I'm planing to play on the opposite side and -- * Giannis interrupts*

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I will be marking Thanasis if he goes as my opponent. I will eat him up, that's a statement!

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: I think you saw what happened last time, right ?


Skoudis(host): I saw it and it sounds great to my ears, but as I watched you guys from afar did I also hear both of you saying the word "Kobe"? Was i wrong ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Hahaha, you did hear it alright.

Skoudis (host): Who is Kobe Bryant between you two?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: I believe like you would say it's blasphemy to say who is Kobe. Kobe is only one but i believe that both of us want to reach the level of Kobe's greatness.

*Giannis nods in agreement*

Skoudis(host): Fifty years from now, you will stop playing basketball in the NBA and you will do this farewell party game like it happen a few days ago at the STAPLES Center between Utah and Lakers. How many points will you score in yours?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: OK, I do not know if I will score 60 like Kobe, but I'll try to get 20-25, and if I'm having a good day I may up it to 30, who knows. Hey, I may score 34 like my number, wouldn't that be great?

*everyone agrees and laughs*

Skoudis (host): Mixalis Kamperidis was with you two months ago when you told us. Did you really feel such wonder that night when you and Kobe met up after the game for the things he told you?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah absolutely. What can I say, Kobe Bryant is one of the best players ever and to have a few minutes in private talking about basketball and what i need to do was very important, and I was very very happy to have this chance.

Thing is, when I see basketball players and famous ones I'm not usually nervous or shocked, but when I saw Kobe I literally was shocked. It was the second time I played against him, but the first time I didn't speak with him. This time, if it wasn't for Jason Kidd telling me to calm down, to talk with Kobe and ask him whatever I wanted, I would still be there like a little kid gawking at him.

Skoudis (host): So if this meeting happened before the game I assume you wouldn't be playing that night ?

*everyone laughs*

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah it would be like, I'm done, not playing anymore hahaha.... nah, just kidding.

Skoudis (host): Let us proceed and view the interview of Kobe where he talks about Giannis;

*Kobe interview played*

Skoudis (host): Thanasis Antetokounmpo, you've got a phenomenal brother? (like Kobe said in the interview)

Thanasis Antetokounmpo:

Giannis Antetokounmpo: He doesn't want to say it, he really doesn't want it to get over my head. *laughs*

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: No, it's not really like that. For everyone it is surely something amazing, as for me, he is my brother that is working hard, wants to succeed in his life and become great. He also wants to take care of his family and create a dynasty .

Skoudis (host): You're two years older, now that your ways are split from when you played in Greece and lived together. How much can you take care of Giannis and keep him grounded considering how far you are apart?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: I'm not concerned about the second part, we grew together and we have some principles so it won't change his way of thinking and acting*. As for the first, we talk a lot and every day. I'm also trying to watch his games, but because we play on same days sometimes I can't. In generally tho we talk a lot.
*Thanasis here talks about Giannis not losing himself in all the praise he is getting

Skoudis (host): Giannis, from all the things he told you (Kobe) the meeting was quite long, right ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah, it lasted 10-15 minutes.

Skoudis(host): Were you answering him with "Yes, Sir" ? *both laughing*

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah indeed, how do you know that ? *everyone laughs*

Skoudis (host): Seriously though, what was the one thing that you kept most from the talk you had with Kobe ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: For me there are a lot of very good players in the NBA that "say" that they work hard but they don't show it. I mean, everyone can come to you and tell you to work hard, right ? I remember in that meeting, when Kobe was talking he said to me, "My friend, when i was working i was working for 8 hours each day, I was shooting a thousand shots per day." When i was hearing him saying those words, looking into my eyes I knew that he did those things, I knew it immediately .You could feel that wasn't him saying bullshit just to impress you. He pointed out also how important a summer is for a player. He said in the summer I need to work as hard as possible and be as exhausted as possible and get used to it , so when I am playing during the regular season the exhaustion wouldn't be visible.

Skoudis (host): From all the players that are playing in the 30 teams, which one bothers you the most when he guards you? You know, someone that plays dirty, tough or cunning?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I'm not thinking about it. When I'm playing I'm not thinking who I want to guard me or who I don't, but i remember in my career-high game against the Chicago Bulls I remember before the 3rd quarter I was doing really well but when Jimmy Butler went on me I remember I started really struggling then. He could really stop me, if it wasn't for him I would have easily scored 40 -45.

Skoudis(host): OK, let's reverse it, who you don't want to mark, besides Thanasis of course? *both laugh*

Giannis Antetokounmpo: No one really...there is no player that I cannot guard.

Skoudis (host): Thansis, we know you're training and we deeply hope you succeed. Is it hard to guard Carmelo ( Anthony) during workouts ?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: It's not hard per se because you don't have to run around chasing him, all he wants is to get to his spots. The thing is, when he gets to his spots then things change, he controls his body amazingly well and he is very experienced and it's hard for energetic guys like me, I need to tone it down against him. Carmelo likes eager defenders, he wants you to make the mistake to jump on him and then he finishes you off.

Skoudis(host): Is Carmelo a good guy ?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Good guy, very good guy.

Skoudis(host): He loves us Greeks doesn't he? Especially when he talks about Papaloukas.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Yeah, I remember when we went out to drink, me, him and Sasha Vujacic, he spoke about Papaloukas and how great he was especially with P&R. I also asked him how did USA lose to Greece back in the 2006 FIBA World Cup. He replied that we (Greece) knew how to play PNR while they didn't . Melo: "You guys also lowered the tempo while we wanted to run and so on." "What happened after that though?" ahahaha.

Skoudis(host): Let us proceed and watch what Melo had to say about Thanasis.

*Carmelo Anthony talks about Thanasis*

Skoudis (host): What surprises me like Thanasis said about players going out for a drink and stuff.... is there really time for players to bond ? What about Giannis, did you ask for example Jabari or Middleton about it?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: For sure, there is time and you must do this because we play together all year and we spend a lot of time in training and within the team.You have to bond with your teammates either by watching some movies, drinks and stuff. We have to do something outside basketball sometimes.

Skoudis (host): When you say "outside" i hope you don't mean literally ? *laughs*

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah of course, if you stay more than 5 minutes outside (in Milwaukee) you're done for.

Skoudis (host): All this fame, love and interest people are showing you must be difficult for you as you are the center of attention. Everytime we see you in the top ten and how people from different areas talk about do you handle such situations?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Easy, very easy to be honest. When i have people like Thanasis and my family in general that help me every day and we talk all day on how to handle it then it's really easy.

I would also want to point out that in every arena i go and play I see Greek Flags waving around, and it's not just one or two, I see a lot of them and I'm trying all the time to talk to these people, take some pictures and generally do as much as I can, as you know the schedule is really tight in here. So yeah, it's quite easy to handle all of this.

Skoudis (host): Have you ever felt close to losing yourself in all this glory and fame? I mean, you have everyone talking about you and how you score triple doubles, score 30 + points against great players and so on. I guess it's not easy to really keep calm is it ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Like I've said before it's quite easy, especially since I'm a humble guy and that helps me to not to get over my head about all of this.

Skoudis(host): Who is the best of all your brothers? All of your brothers are playing basketball besides your oldest brother that plays football .Did your father also try to get you to play football ?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: He wanted us occupied with a sport because he also played football, but we grew and we got taller, and since Greece is a basketball country....

* A picture of brothers pops int he screen*

Skoudis(host): Would you introduce us please?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: This is Giannis the Jordan, then its Thanasis "James," then it's Alex "Whiteside" and -- *Thanasis interupts*

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Kostas "Durant" *everyone laughs*


Skoudis (host): Kostas is the third that started playing basketball, let's get a better look at him shall we, as many teams are after him after his Hoop Summit performance.

*Video about Kostas shows* - got cut in this video

Skoudis(host):You have Kostas close to you, Giannis, do you have time to spend with him?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I'm trying as much as I can when i get free time, trying to watch his games, his training and such. I get him to the Bucks' practice facility and we train together sometimes.

Skoudis (host): I'm really curious, does Antetokounmpo mean something in Nigerian? In Africa names and surnames usually have a meaning, sure you guys got Greek first names but what about your surname?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: I will tell you what it means NOW -- it means courage, bravery. It means to be humble and it means that you have belief in life, that's what it means.

Skoudis(host): How do the little guys in school feel when they see you, Giannis taking his brother to the school ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Well, my parents usually give him a ride but when I go to his games there is some little chaos going on, but I mainly try to not draw attention, because when Kostas plays I want him getting all the attention.
I'm just sitting in a corner with a cap watching proudly my brother play .

Skoudis(host): For someone that doesn't know you and wants to know more about you...what are you guys doing in your free time? As you see, last year we couldn't go outside thanks to the cold in Milwaukee, but we really had fun playing around.
*shows a video in the background of Giannis playing billiard "

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: That was your first year wasn't it ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah, let me start by saying that in this video my brother Alex is a head and half taller nowdays. He is now around 6'4" - 1.93 m tall at age 14 to 15. Now, what else we do in free time...hmm, we play PlayStation, go to the gym, we watch movies and the little guys are reading all the time of course.

Skoudis(host): They made an April fool's joke about you opening a restaurant in Milwaukee. Why don't you consider opening a gyro restaurant for real?

*everyone laughs*

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Don't know, man, i need to bring a specialist for it *all of them laugh* the gyros (souvlakia in Greek) and that's even if I open a restaurant ever in my life. If i do though I want the gyro to be the same like in Greece.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: You need to first open something in Greece and then outside...

Skoudis(host): Like starting a franchise? *everyone laughs*

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Yeah, yeah *laughs*

*Picture of Giannis famillity on the screen *

Giannis Antetokounmpo: This is a picture when we were at Acropolis

Skoudis (host): We are back for part two with the company of Giannis and Thanasis, which the things are saying tonight are very interesting.

So, if the ball by mistake drops into the sea near the place you guys gonna play who is gonna catch it ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Hahahah, I cannot swim, I'm not diving for it.

Skoudis(host): I guess Milwaukee doesn't have a sea to swim eh?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Lakes and only lakes .

Skoudis(host): Do you like Milwakuee as a city ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Yeah, i like it, it's a quiet town but there is much to do really.

Skoudis(host): From all the towns you visited, which one you think is great to live in ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Los Angeles is nice, I'm not sure if i could live in NYC though...Miami for sure i could live (talking to Thanasis)

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Miami and Florida would be really nice yeah, but I feel like New York is the center of everything.

Skoudis(host):Thanasis, how determined are you in order to achieve your dream and play in a NBA team and not play in Europe ?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Well to begin with I wasn't a free agent so I couldn't go anywhere i wanted but this year I'm a free agent so i have more options now, even Europe.

Skoudis(host): Giannis is still under contract and i assume the Bucks will call him soon to extend his contract. Have you guys ever got contracts from other teams during your time in US ?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Yeah, we had and for me especially i would interest to play in Europe, all options are open. My first priority is NBA but if I can prove myself in Europe first then yeah I would do it.

Skoudis(host): Giannis, how much it depends on you if you will come to play with NT this summer?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Surely it doesn't depend on me, i have talked a little bit with my coaches and the team but they got a plan for me this summer. From this point I try to show them how important playing for NT is for me but surely the decision doesn't depend on me.

Skoudis(host): Is the main reason your upcoming contract or that they have something in specific for you to help you become better this year as you are considered as franchise player by the Bucks?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I think it's a mix of all of the above to be honest,surely because I need to become better since now I play in a new position and I am the point guard of the team and everything begins from me. And it also has do with the contract extension, there are really many factors included. In the May though i will have a talk with Jason Kidd and John Hammond and we will see.

Skoudis(host): I guess the Bucks know how important it is to have a player in the Olympics.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: There is nothing bigger than Olympic games and I'lll really try to be there. I hope I can represent my country.

Skoudis(host): In the current moment would you imagine yourself with another team ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: At the moment no and for the next couple of years no but as you know anything can happen but I want to stay.

Skoudis(host): I'm pretty sure that you feel grateful to Bucks since they picked you high on the draft.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I thank the god for the Bucks and I really really respect the Bucks, honestly, they picked a raw 18 year old kid from Greek second division. This is my fourth year with them and i really want to play with them for many many years, but if things change and there are offers you never know. It's a big what if though.

Skoudis(host): You must remember the game with Filathlitikos where you guys lost the qualifying to upper league and had 3 overtimes in that game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Ohh god, i was crying a lot after this game, it was one of our dreams to play in the upper league as back then we weren't playing on great teams.

Skoudis(host):Taking accord into your life and how all planned out, were there any offers trying to turn your life in a movie?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: Yeah and especially to me since i live in a city where media is huge.

Skoudis(host):Wanna sign a contract with us and do it then ? ahahha

Giannis Antetokounmpo: We will do our best but we cannot promise you anything , hahahaha.

Skoudis(host): Seriously though, your life would be a really interesting one, especially for the kids that are growing, they could take it as lesson on how hard work really pays off and you can achieve anything through it .
I mean you guys had nothing to eat once and now you've reached the NBA.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: It's not only about hunger or being humble only, it's very hard and you have to survive and in order to do that you have to work hard.

Skoudis(host): How tall you become since you left Greece and do you want to become taller???

Giannis Antetokounmpo: From 6'9" to 6'11" and really no, i don't want to grow more. *laughs*
I really want to thank Suki Hobson and how much she helped with my training and me putting on all this muscle.

Skoudis(host): Do you feel the pressure of winning a championship with the Bucks and make into the all star game someday ?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Nah, I'm not pressured at all or stressed because I know with hard work and proper mentality everything will come. All I have to do is keep remaining humble, put my head down and work.

Hope you guys enjoyed the interview!

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