Indian Basketball Players Can Enter NBA: ‘Greek Freak’ Giannis
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
He’s Greek. He’s 24 years old. And in just his third appearance at the All-Star Weekend, is leading a team that he drafted. So when I got a chance to represent Giannis Antetokounmpo’s (pronounced: YAHN-iss ah-deh-toh-KOON-boh) Indian followers during the All-Star weekend in Charlotte this year, I couldn’t help asking what it was that international players had to do, to make their way into the NBA. Here’s what he said.
Called names like ‘Greek God’ and ‘Greak Freak’, Giannis has been at the centre of attention in the NBA world in the last few years; in 2016-17 he became the first player in league’s history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, and in 2017, was named the Most Improved Player. In the ongoing season, he has already won six Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards.
But for now, Giannis will lead big names like Stephen Curry and Kemba Walker against LA Lakers star and NBA legend LeBron James’ Team LeBron in the final event of the All-Star Weekend, scheduled to be played at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on Sunday, 17 February – a fact that he finds hard to believe.
“It’s crazy. Before I came into the league, I was looking up to him. Right now I was in the locker room, and I was sharing a meal with Team Giannis. Like I’m leading the All-Star team. You know, picking teams with LeBron James. If you told me that six years ago, I would’ve never, never, never thought I would be in this position right now.”Giannis Antetokounmpo
LeBron on the other hand, will be matching Kobe Bryant for the most starts in All-Star Game history (15) and will extend his record for consecutive starts to 15. James is tied for third place in All-Star selections with 15, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Bryant (18).
“This is the biggest weekend for the NBA. People from all over the world come here. So many different countries, so many different people from so many different walks of life. I know the people of Charlotte are very appreciative of this moment. I’m happy to be here,” said LeBron.
So if you’re back in India, and want to catch all the top NBA stars on the same court, tune in too the All-Star game on Monday, 5:30 am.
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