NBA Draft

The ABCs of Thanasis Antetokounmpo

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Get to know Thanasis Antetokounmpo as he prepares for the 2014 NBA Draft. 

Thanasis Antetokounmpo is a 6-6  small forward projected to be selected in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

He played last season for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League, averaging 12.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Athens, Greece is his home city.

No stranger to the NBA, he is the older brother of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. (Thanasis is 21 years old, two years older.)

At the Chicago Draft Combine he stressed the importance of hard work, noting “I try to be a reliable person.”

Setting his sights high, he measured a vertical of nearly 40 inches during the combine.

“I wasn’t disappointed, but I thought I could [leap] higher,” he said.

Soaring is part of his game. He appeared in the NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest and jammed over 6-9 Giannis.

Accustomed to playing with his brother in Greece, he said it would “probably be a dream for my family” to see the siblings on the same NBA team.

Not to mention, it would ease the concerns of his mother. “My mom could come see us both in the same place,” he said. “She won’t have to call me and worry.”

This summer Thanasis is spending time in Washington, D.C. to prepare for the Draft.

Even though his brother was also playing in the United States last season, he didn’t make many trips to Milwaukee because of his own schedule.

The competition is different in the NBA than in Greece, and he wanted to assess how he fared. “When I used to play I was athletic and I was making a really big difference,” he said. “I really wanted to know if I could make the same difference here. I was seeing all the players and everyone is so athletic so I wanted to see if I could make the same impact with energy and hard work.”

Other differences for him have included learning new terminology.

Kobe Bryant is a player Thansis referenced when discussing the importance of always improving.

On the future Hall of Famer, he said, “If Kobe Bryant was here in this chair and you asked him, ‘What do you think you have to improve on?’ he would say, ‘I gotta work my shot I gotta work on everything,’ and he is one of five all-time players. I have to work everything and I have to work more than others.”

Undaunted by the long road of hard work that lies ahead, Thanasis takes a humble approach when it comes to what he believes it will take to make it in the NBA.

Never afraid to put in the extra effort, he said, “I have to work everything and I have to work more than others. I have two rules; wherever I go I’m the worst player. So if he works twice I’ve got to work four times. If he works four times, I’ve got to work eight because he is already better than me, he already here in the States and I just got here. I have to work better than him.”

Many people fuel Thanasis’ desire to succeed, as exhibited by this Instagram post.

Perhaps he will establish his own nickname in the NBA. For now, he goes by Greek Freak 2 or Greek Freak Part 2 in reference to his brother.

Only time will tell where Thanasis’ NBA career will take him. But for now, he’s getting ready to start the next chapter with a modest and dedicated approach that will drive him to keep pushing to succeed in the pros.

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About Jessica Camerato

Jessica Camerato

Jessica Camerato is a bilingual reporter who has been covering the NBA since 2006. She has also covered MLB, NHL and MLS. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Jessica is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Association for Women in Sports Media.