With all that he has accomplished, 2x MVP, Finals MVP, 2021 NBA Champ, 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year and much more, at just 27, Giannis Antetokounmpo already has stamped his ticket to the Hall of Fame.
Just as he helped lead his Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA championship in fifty years in 2021, Giannis hopes to be able do something similar, by helping the Greek national team secure a medal in EuroBasket 2022.
Though Giannis’ talent is prodigious, his assessment of his team and their chances of medaling were pragmatic and sobering, saying this to the media on media day after the team’s most recent practice:
“Judging from yesterday’s practice, we are not yet ready for a medal, but we have our chances. It doesn’t matter what the world expects, it’s what the team expects. In all the competitions I’ve been to with Greece, we didn’t even reach the quarterfinals. We’re not ready for medals or cups. We need to create chemistry and the right atmosphere. Let’s go and do our best. I have realistic goals, I need to get better. We have three weeks to bond. I will adapt to what the national team needs from me and not the opposite. Our coach (Dimitris Itoudis) is doing an amazing job and we have to do the best we can”….“And why wasn’t a medal possible in the previous times and is it now? We can’t talk for a medal, that’s what we always do and we fall short. We have to achieve something before Calathes, Sloukas, and Papanikolaou leave the team. I didn’t win a championship with the Bucks because I was thinking about the NBA title. Step by step, we have to get better.”
Greek national coach Dimitris Itoudis shared the same sentiment as Giannis in terms of the state of the team.
We are not ready yet. We are in the process of getting ready. We are not yet a team. The players don’t know me and I don’t know them. We are still missing George Papagiannis who is not practicing. We have very little time and we have to take advantage of each second. Speaking about medals now is just a dream. We must be here even if it hurts, or if there’s any problem. That’s what we can promise”.