When the Milwaukee Bucks drafted a lanky 19-year-old from Greece in 2013, they would have never expected him to win MVP. But that #15 overall pick, Giannis Antetokounmpo, surprised everyone and is now a back-to-back MVP.
Although he is one of the best players in the game currently, there was a time when Giannis struggled too. Back in February 2019, Giannis spoke about his encounter as a 15-year-old.
“I had a bad experience on the court once. It was a guy that was really, really good… I was 15, he was 19. In front of my friends, on home-court, he said, ‘we can play one-on-one and I bet you won’t score.’ I said, ‘Nah, that’s not happening.’ And he beat me, like, 33-0.
“I started crying, left the court. After that day, I developed a mentality like ‘I’m never gonna lose again.’”
The player was Nikos Pappas, a five-time Greek League champion. Although he was good back then, unlike Giannis, he never made it to the NBA. He went undrafted in 2012 and has played in Europe since then. He has teamed up with Giannis a few times when they played together for the Greek national team.
While Giannis has now won back-to-back MVPs, his team has now faced back-to-back playoff embarrassments. After being the best regular season in both seasons, they failed to turn up in the playoffs and got knocked in the second round on both occasions.
With Giannis now on the last year of his deal, there are many rumors about him wanting to leave for a team where a title is easier to win. So the Bucks will do everything they can to win this season, to keep him happy here. To push for a championship now, the Bucks are trying to make a big trade. They are attempting to bring in Chris Paul or Victor Oladipo so Giannis can have a strong big three.
Regardless of his 2021 Free Agency decision, Giannis will work hard this season to have a better playoff performance and not be termed as a regular-season pony.
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