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Giannis Antetokounmpo believes craziness is the path to greatness

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Updated 1 month ago on

4 min read

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Giannis Antetokounmpo believes craziness is the path to greatness
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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has come a long way since his early playing days with Filathlitikos, a Greek professional basketball club.

The Greek Freak has witnessed almost everything. However, he had never seen a two-way player talk trash to him before. It became a reality after Milwaukee selected Sandro Mamukelashvili 54th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Bucks have top-3 odds to win the championship in 2023. A few sportsbooks are giving the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics higher odds.

Following the Bucks’ championship win against the Phoenix Suns in the 2021 NBA Finals, Mamukelashvili was given the opportunity to shoot hoops alongside Antetokounmpo.

In the NCAA, Mamukelashvili won Big East co-Player of the Year and was selected to the All-Big East First Team during his senior season with Seton Hall.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is convinced that craziness can lead to greatness

While meeting his teammates for the first time, the Georgian-American baller wanted to test the players’ tempers. So, Mamukelashvili went right after the Finals MVP.

“He started talking s— t to me,” Antetokounmpo mentioned to The Athletic. It was one conversation he recalled in a hallway of Fiserv Forum last Saturday

“He said, ‘Yo, Giannis, I’m gonna shut you down in practice today.’ And I was just tying my shoe, but he did not know me,” Giannis Antetokounmpo continued.

“It was like our first interaction, first time to meet somebody, but he didn’t know me. And he is like a kid that has so much energy, he loves to talk too much. He was like, ‘I’m gonna shut you down today.'”

Nonetheless, good-natured banter is just one of his slight motivators. His bigger inspiration for winning awards and averaging double-digit stats with Milwaukee is Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

“I might not be as talented as him, but we’re talking about a guy that worked extremely hard from his first day until he retired,” stated Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kobe Bryant is Antetokounmpo’s inspiration? 

Though, the six-time All-Star was wary of Bryant’s trash talk as well. Off the court, Black Mamba could be anyone’s best friend. While playing basketball? That’s a different story.

“A guy that plays to win, a guy that pushes himself to the limit, a guy that has a killer mentality when he steps on the court, it’s almost like having — I think he had two personalities.”

“Like when we were on the sideline and we were talking and I was taking notes, laughing smiling, joking around, talking. But when we stepped on the court, it was like motherf—ker didn’t even know me. ‘I thought you were like my friend. My bad, Kobe. How many more times are we gonna do it?’ Twenty-five…”

“I saw the Redeem Team trailer,” Giannis Antetokounmpo added. “And [Kobe] said, ‘I’m going to set the tone. This guy is my brother, Pau Gasol.’ He baptized his kid, he’s the godfather of his kid.”

“And this guy says, ‘I’m going to set the tone. I know the play. I’m gonna run through him. I’m just gonna boom, run through him.’ And then BOOM. And everybody goes crazy.”

“I took that clip, it was like on the trailer, and I sent it to my brothers. I can show you the text. And I said, ‘In order for you to be great, you have to be a little bit crazy.'”

Giannis Antetokounmpo hopes his ‘craziness’ will help the Bucks win another championship this season. Trash talk is part of the game. Instead of taking it personal, the forward has learned to embrace it.


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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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