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Tidbits and Trivia: January 26th, 2021

Exorbitant Ticket Prices, and Giannis’ Jokes

Milwaukee Bucks Victory Parade & Rally Photo by Brian Choi/NBAE via Getty Images

I had hoped to spend tonight making a sojourn to fabled Cleveland. That was before I realized that nosebleed tickets were $70. Unsurprisingly, it would have been cheaper to see them play the Knicks and the Thunder (shudder) earlier in the week. Looking ahead to April, tickets are only $40, so I likely could have gotten yesterday’s tickets earlier for a similar price. But that requires foresight re: mask requirements, which were not in place when I could have gotten the tickets a month ago and will likely have lapsed come April. All of which is to say: It sucks being champions, and I’ll have to settle for the tingly feeling of being in the same state for a few hours.


Today’s main topic for musing is Giannis’ jokes. I’ll attempt a literary analysis to surface new insights into his psyche and the world at large. But mostly giggle.

We’ll start by assembling some material. I DuckDuckGo’d various permutations of “Giannis jokes” until I reached saturation. I drew a line between jokes and pranks, at the latter he is also quite corny; I distinguished jokes from humor in general, focusing on discrete one-liners or questions and answers; and I sampled from Twitter but not TikTok due to its textual nature, a point I will revisit later on.

2016

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Obama.
Obama who?
Obama-self (sung “All by myself”).

2017

What’s Drake new song called?
Baaa-na-na.

I had one about a mustache, but I’ll shave it for later.

Have you guys seen the new movie Constipation? No?
It’s because it hasn’t come out yet.

2021

I heard Shakira and JLo are not performing because it’s The Weekend...
They don’t work on Sunday?

How do you make a tissue dance?!
You put a little “Boogie” in it!

2022

When the cows go out, where do they go?
To the mooooovies.

Why did the chicken cross the street?
It was running away from my dinner plate.

Our limited data seem to point to three stages:

Media Days: 2016-2017

After his early pranking tendencies, Giannis unveiled the Obama knock-knock joke at Media Day in 2016. This followed the signing of his first contract extension. The following year’s cavalcade of jokes - including one that interrupted Rashad Vaughn’s interview - followed a breakout season. That confidence manifested in jokes, but it was concentrated on Media Day, where he could experiment with his material in front of a large audience.

His English was already quite fluent at this point, but I think it is fair to mention that jokes are often an important ingredient in the language-learning process. They can motivate language learners, and they represent having a grasp of a language beyond putting subjects, verbs, and objects in the right order (e.g., “I dunk the basketball”). Especially after he downplayed his English language skills to reporters at prior media days - and in tandem with including then-president Obama and Drake in the jokes, who are presumably bigger deals here than in Athens - points to a player and a person who was increasingly comfortable with his new language and homeland.

Interregnum: 2018-2020

The most likely explanation for the lack of material from 2018-2020 is my sampling technique (and the ~10 minutes I spent on it). I’m sure he put out a number of B-side-splitters that did not light the world on fire in the same way as his Media Day tracks.

But, is it possible that the relative dearth of jokes during the period reflects the Bucks making the jump of a “good” to “great” team and shouldering commensurate expectations to win a championship? The recent return to jokes in the next epoch may back that assertion.

Dad Jokes: 2021-present

The past year has seen an uptick in jokes, coinciding with his second extension and the championship. Notably, the jokes in this period frequently emerge on Twitter and post-game pressers, as well as increasingly on TikTok (which I did not sample for this article). Perhaps this is the communication scholar in me, but I think that the shift in context from Media Day to everyday life is important. Despite the often performative nature of social media, the jokes become immersed in his daily life and acquire an additional air of authenticity that is missed behind a microphone. Athletes across sports have used social media to establish connections with fans without inter(media)ries, and Giannis is a part of that trend.

Another important factor is Liam’s birth. This allows Giannis to justifiably brand his bad jokes as dad jokes. It also might portend a shift in the age-level of his material - the recent cow joke strikes me as particularly child-oriented. Dad jokes may even be a way to keep up his parental identity even during demanding seasons and long road trips.

The Next Era?

Throughout, Giannis’ jokes have been objectively pretty bad. In light of his young child (and another on the way), not to mention the joy he seems to derive from his current repertoire, I would anticipate him staying that course. But maybe he’ll surprise us.

In this piece, I was hoping for a couple things that did not pan out. For one, I previewed this as a “literary analysis.” I was hoping to dive into nuances of his word choice, syntax, and the like... but there is only so much you can do with “Why did the chicken cross the street.” (Although maybe it is indeed symbolic, and the chicken represents the rest of the NBA?) I also was attuned to the originality of the jokes: whether he came up with them himself or simply Googled them. Ultimately, I didn’t perceive a change in originality over time, although that may have been due to the challenge of discerning the originality of someone else’s jokes. Regardless, I look forward to the future of Giannis jokes.


Without further ado, good luck on today’s trivia! The answers are in the comments below.

Question #1

Poll

Giannis recently tied MJ for the 18th most triple doubles of all time. He has more than all of the following active players except who?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    A: Kevin Durant
    (9 votes)
  • 33%
    B: Draymond Green
    (16 votes)
  • 8%
    C: Kyle Lowry
    (4 votes)
  • 39%
    D: Chris Paul
    (19 votes)
48 votes total Vote Now

Question #2

Poll

Khris recently tallied his 3,000th rebound. He arrived in MKE in the infamous Khris Middleton trade, which sent Brandon Jennings to the Pistons in exchange for him, Brandon Knight, and what other player?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    A: Viacheslav Kravtsov
    (19 votes)
  • 17%
    B: Tony Mitchell
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    C: Peyton Siva
    (3 votes)
  • 33%
    D: Charlie Villenueva
    (15 votes)
45 votes total Vote Now

Question #3

Poll

Discerning readers of Adam’s competing Wednesday segment will know that the Bucks have won how many games out of the 10 they have played sans Jrue?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    A: 1
    (3 votes)
  • 59%
    B: 3
    (28 votes)
  • 27%
    C: 5
    (13 votes)
  • 6%
    D: 7
    (3 votes)
47 votes total Vote Now

Question #4

Poll

Rounding to the nearest tenth (sorry), what is DDV shooting inside the arc (as of today)?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    A: .1
    (4 votes)
  • 39%
    B: .2
    (17 votes)
  • 41%
    C: .3
    (18 votes)
  • 9%
    D: .4
    (4 votes)
43 votes total Vote Now

Question #5

Poll

The Bucks’ City Edition jerseys feature how many stripes of how many colors on each side?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    A: 6 stripes of 5 colors
    (5 votes)
  • 60%
    B: 6 stripes of 4 colors
    (25 votes)
  • 9%
    C: 7 stripes of 5 colors
    (4 votes)
  • 17%
    D: 7 stripes of 4 colors
    (7 votes)
41 votes total Vote Now