Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounbo, who were crowned NBA champions, arrived in Athens shortly before 12:00 noon on Sunday (1/8) and spoke to the press about the ring with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Greek national team.
Their arrival in Greece would have happened earlier, but Thanasis Antetokounbo had to remain in quarantine, as he was in the NBA coronavirus protocol. Their mother Veronica also landed in Athens with them, while the only one who was absent from the family was Alex Antetokunbo, as he remained in the USA to participate in the NBA Summer League with the Sacramento Kings.
"I wake up every morning and see that the Bucks are champions. I feel a bit. "I want to cry, I have not believed it yet," said the "Greek Freak" to win the NBA title. The MVP of this year's finals announced in advance that he will be in Sepolia in the coming days, in the neighborhood field where he grew up, together with the Bucks trophy and will wait for the children who want to shake his hand.
In detail, Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounbo stated:
Giannis Antetokounbo, in his first statements, said: "I want to thank everyone, all those who supported us to go to the NBA and live our dream. We are happy to be back to see our friends and family. We are happy that we managed to bring the Cup together, because it was a whole process. I am very happy that one of the biggest trophies in the world is in Greece. It's unbelievable. I do not know how many days we will stay, but I will definitely take it back to Sepolia, to Zografou, to the places where we grew up. He was not with us on the flight. We still do not believe what has happened. It was done with hard work by everyone on the team, the players, the coaches and the people who came to support us. "The Greeks supported us and loved us."
Thanasis Antetokounbo said in his first words, after his arrival, to "Eleftherios Venizelos": "I have nothing to say, thank you very much. Thanks to all the people who have supported us during the season, from the first moment we play basketball. From the first moment we went abroad to pursue our dream ". Commenting on his absence from Game 5 and Game 6 of the NBA Finals: "It was not difficult to be apart from the last two games. The hardest part was not being able to help the team. I was most upset that I was not there, not for the celebrations. Does not matter. Even so, I am a champion. The trophy will not leave the field ".
The MVP of the finals, Giannis Antetokounbo, added to achieve the goal of winning the NBA title: "It is an incredible journey. I had people next to me who helped me, they believed that I could become better. Being an NBA champion is a shocking feeling. The best feeling I have experienced so far is the moment I became a father and now I am preparing to become a father again. This whole route is crazy. If you had said that to me eight years ago, I would have told you that you are crazy. With hard work, we do not stop. We have not stopped as a family. We have experienced this all our lives. We saw our parents working every day. To raise us and feed us. Having done so many things, we do not stop. We can not stop. Our parents did not stop. This route is incredible. Everything that comes, all the good, the money, the friends, being in ads comes with only one thing with hard work. There is nothing without hard work. I do not know what my ceiling is. Only I work hard every year. Each season we surpass what we did the previous one. I do not know if we will win another championship. All I know is that I will get up and go to workout. And today I might go for weights. This mentality will not change. "Thanasis and I, and Alex and Kostas are pushing ourselves to become better."
"Greek Freak" continued: "I still do not believe it. I was not trying to see the best moments. I wake up every morning and see that the Bucks are champions. I feel a bit. I want to cry, I have not believed it yet. Only that we lived these moments. Where were the people, 70.000 people off the field. We had a parade with people shouting the name of our team. I always thought as a child that I would live something like this. "My brother and I did it when we were little, with my family."
The two brothers were asked "when did they believe that they would not lose the title with anything". "Greek Freak" undertook to respond, saying: "We have never been in a similar position to know that we will not lose the trophy. The first time we won a series after 2001, was in 2019. We had never been in such a position to know about the momentum. We played good basketball, what we had in mind was to improve, to become better. Winning Miami with a broom gave us a lot of confidence. At that moment we did not think we would win, we were happy to play good basketball and we were looking forward ".
Regarding the… exploitation of his image, "Giannis" explained: "I do not know if something like this will happen. If Nike or Jordan like it, they will decide. I keep all the moments I lived with Thanasis, the team in the locker room and the people outside the stadium. It was so nice. It lasted one night. I want to live it again with my team. May we get better and improve and be "hungry", so that we can win other such moments with Milwaukee and may it happen with the National Team of Greece. I like to win. If we continue to work hard, we will experience such moments. With God by our side, we will succeed. I want to experience it again. Whatever you do, we are human beings. We want to get better with Thanasis. We want to play to our limits. To reach what seems unattainable. With our heads down we will do terrible things and have God by our side ".
He added: "I do not want to be an NBA person. It could be Durand or Harden. I want to be with my children and my family. I want to win and have a good time, to win. I want to be Giannis who works hard ".
However, "Giannis" expressed his wish that things were different and that he was now competing with the Greek national team at the Tokyo Olympics: "For the Greek national team, I wish we had qualified. I really wanted to be there. We want to help the national team in any way. "I wish we were playing in the Olympics now, if we were not here."
Who is the man who puts the next Challenge after Kobe Bryant to Giannis Antitokoumbo? "My whole family helps me and challenges me. But also myself. I try to work and evolve as best I can. Thanasis is the one who puts me the next challenge. My family. Cobby helped me a lot, he made me believe that I can achieve my dreams. If he believes me, no one else needs to believe me. Now that we have become champions, I want to continue to improve. And whatever challenge comes, we will be there to take it ".
He was also asked about the criticism he receives for his shot and shots and replied: "I continue to work no matter what they tell me. For better or for worse, I continue to work on everything. In the shots, in the shot. I know I work, I do what I have to do. That's enough for me. I'm happy with who I am because I know I work and I do what I can. It can not hurt me. I say it too, I do not shoot. I'm very OK with this because I work to improve. I want to be a better shooter, I think I still have a lot to give. I want to improve in dribbling, in low post, in all that. As I said before, keep your head down and move on. "
Regarding the Milwaukee Bucks tribute and the report of Giannis Antitokoumbo that he wants to do it again next year, "Greek Freak" said: "I had a moment with my family, trying to understand what happened, before I go to the coaches and my teammates. Like I said before, this is all addictive. I was happy about it all, I was having fun. I've been stressed all my life, it was not something. All athletes have pressure, but I found a way to have fun at the moment. I did not care if we won or lost, I had fun. After the first two minutes with my family, I was thinking "what's next". Then you are so happy and excited that you say that I understood what I have to do to win and be at the top level. I like to see people around me happy. I want to do it again. "
Regarding the fact that they always look happy and are smiling, Thanasis Antetokunbo said: "Everything has to do with our parents. "When we see them fighting and continuing to work without protesting, then we do the same and we have adopted it."
Giannis Antetokounbo was also asked about the post of support for the weightlifter Thodoris Iakovidis, after his statements yesterday from Tokyo about the difficult financial days that he has gone through and is going through. "Everything you go through when you are an athlete is heavy, athletes do not talk about it much because if they do, they will say 'you get so many millions, run and play'". It is difficult, though. It's all too heavy. I was glad he came out and cried, he said how he felt. Me too… there are so many nights I do not know if I can continue to do what I do. I have people next to me who tell me different things and motivate me. I know how difficult it is for him. He must not lift these weights alone. You have to "build" people, not tear them down. This also applies to Kalaitzakis, who was drafted. We must surround him with love. "
Thanasis Antetokounbo stressed for his part about Thanasis Iakovidis: "I want to say a huge apology to Theodore, not from us, but from everyone. We can not let Theodore and the next Theodore pick them up alone. "Both as a family and as individuals, we are with him."
In the end, Giannis Antetokounbo advised the children who will go to Sepolia to shake his hand: "For the children who want to come to the neighborhood, they must wear masks. With attention. We will inform them exactly when we will land in Sepolia. we will be there with the trophy. We will play a little basketball, every ten minutes, as long as we can stand it. They do not exist now, I do not have a knee (laughs). We will go and enjoy it all together ".