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Monday Morning Media Roundup: July 24th, 2023

The “Basketball Skeleton Key” Edition

NBA Player Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Trip To China Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images

Regular readers of the MMMR will know I have been spending the past few weeks bloviating about the inadequacies of the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason thus far as I see them. To save you the trouble of going back and re-reading, know that the source of my discomfiture lies in the need to shed prior expectations and removing benefit of the doubt. When analyzing this team, I’ve become very wary of weighing “title-winning experience” as a signature element that can and will show through when it counts. Injuries, yes, whatever the coaching staff was doing, yes, bad breaks, yes, bad matchups, yes; all had a hand in taking the competitive shine off this edition of the Bucks.

Yet I also see a good deal of optimism while I stick my head in the storm clouds. I even understand and, to some extent, agree with the optimists. On one point in particular we are in lockstep: Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Buck.

Without being too reductive, so much rests and will continue to be thrown upon his shoulders. The key pieces around him are either dudes marching swiftly into their mid-30s or young players who have to prove they know how to play this sport. Giannis represents the fullness of physical maturity and the seductive possibility of there being more to uncover. He is not a final product just yet, even if he is approaching that event horizon in the mid-term.

Giannis remains a sort of basketball skeleton key. Opponents can throw any scheme, any defender, any challenge, any obstacle in his way, and he has the singular essence to make all that in his way disappear. He can tilt, side-step, overrun, muscle, out jump, outsmart, and master the game of basketball, flaws and all.

Is that enough? Not to make the team a shoo-in, but enough to make it plausible. As far as team-building strategies go, I suppose I’ve heard of worse.

Let’s roundup!

‘Legitimately one of one’: An oral history of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rise from obscure prospect to NBA great (CBS Sports)

This is... actually way better than I had expected it to be. Essentially an extended narrative train chronicling Giannis’s career thus far, the fun twist is that it's an amalgamation of quotes, observations, and thoughts from his contemporaries. Teammates, opponents, coaches, executives, peers, and Jason Kidd all contribute small bits to a fun mosaic.

Lauren and Jrue Holiday accept Ali Award (ESPN)

Good people doing good things for others from a place where their good deeds can have an outsized impact on those around them. There are a lot of great charitable works done by athletes, but the Holidays continue to build out a multifaceted project that spans from coast-to-coast. Congrats on the award!

Joel Embiid: ‘I just want to win a championship ... whether that’s in Philly or anywhere else’ (Liberty Ballers)

The comments are worth your time. Trust me.

Meet Ammar Nsoroma, the muralist who inspired the Milwaukee Bucks’ uniform (OnMilwaukee)

An interesting piece, although unless my reading comprehension has gone completely through the floor, it doesn’t give you a picture of said mural if you haven’t seen it before. Here is Nsoroma in front of his piece, “The Patchwork”, whose symbols’ design was incorporated as part of the team’s blue uniform set last season:

Giannis Antetokounmpo on Greek NT preliminary list for the FIBA World Cup (Eurohoops)

Our Greek readers/commenters will have to brief me on why there has been a yawning talent gap in successive years of Greek athletics such that Nick Calathes — who has been old for as long as I have memory — remains the national team’s irreplaceable point guard. That must be absolute hell, especially if his missing the World Cup would be a death knell for Greece.

Giannis Antetokounmpo discusses his near-retirement from basketball in 2020 (

I’m 99% sure the author of this just took entire paragraphs from pieces written in the Journal Sentinel and The Athletic and pasted them together before posting the Frankenstein onto the honest-to-God actual Olympics website. But, hell, I need to pad these weekly link counts and there’s a chance you didn’t get to read about Giannis’s near-retirement when the story first appeared this past April.

Fan Post of the Week

Doing their level best to rob me of the inaugural BOSS title this September, G may invites you, inveterate reader and (maybe) commenter of Brew Hoop to throw your hat into this fall’s BOSS competition. “Why doesn’t anyone else want to be a BOSS?” is a standalone work, true, but if we widen the lens we’ll see that it is also a companion piece to JSOC2.0’s, “Are you a BOSS Champ?” of a few weeks ago.

In all seriousness, I’d highly encourage anyone to sign up. One, so the competitor pool goes deeper than me, an actual staffer of the site, and my former boss. Two, I think you’ll find that a prompt and some longer-form writing can go a long way to clarifying your thoughts on the state of the team. Give it a try!

The Social Media Section

Literally none of Giannis’s coaching here is intelligible which is how I know he’s a product of the hybrid Kidd/Budenholzer abomination tree

The surest path to salvation is by playing with FIBA regulation basketballs

Life moves fast: One second you’re a rookie on a mediocre Summer League team, and the next you’re a second-year veteran on a mediocre Summer League team

I unironically love Serge because he has zero concern being Serge Ibaka. However, the end product of his work inspired by what I assume is an electric BMW was... a high school letterman’s jacket?

Please turn out to be passable basketball players

The King stays giving

If you’ve gotten this far, first, thanks. I appreciate that there’s enough here to have kept you scrolling whenever you opened the piece.

As you know, we’re diving headfirst into the roughest stretch of the calendar year for a basketblogging site. While I try to put on my creative thinking hat, I’d also like to open the floor/comments so you can throw out ideas of things you’d like to see either myself or the staff take on this summer. Possible ideas include:

  • A Neophyte’s Guide to the Greek National Team
  • It Isn’t Totally Insane to Bring Robin Lopez Back
  • Why Losing Wes Matthews May Sink Milwaukee
  • Way-Too-Early Eight Man Playoff Rotations
  • The Definitive Khris Middleton Knee Operation Encyclopedia Entry

Frankly, we’re open to any and all suggestions. The team — and by extension, we — are at an interesting point with so many unknowns. We can plug in numbers here or there, but ultimately there is a modicum of the unknown until we get a sense for how Adrian Griffin wants to play. In the meantime, we’ll go ahead guessing at what's to come.

Happy Monday!