Thanasis Antetokounmpo: “We want to leave a legacy”
By Nikos Varlas/
He is the older brother of Giannis and also his favorite friend. And he is also a player who has been and hopes to be again part of the NBA.
Eurohoops.net met Thanasis Antetokounmpo in New York and spoke with him about his basketball ambitions, his continues effort to be part of the highest level and his dreams. Thanasis has a special connection with his brother and the two of them may be just the start. The younger brothers, Kostas and Alex, are next in the line and Thanasis reveals what the family would like above everything else: To build a basketball legacy.
How did you experience playing for the in the MSG?
“The emotions were amazing. Sometimes I feel I can’t describe them. The fact that I played in the NBA, in a team like the New York Knicks and in the Madison Square Garden, one of the most important arenas in history, is something fantastic for me. It feels me with confidence. I want to play in the NBA, but above all else, what interests me is to bring out the best basketball that I have in me, at some point. Whether I am in the NBA or in Europe. When it comes to the NBA, the only thing needed, is a team to believe that you can play and then give you the time, plus the opportunities, to prove it”.
Do you believe that what happens in summer is going to of critical importance? Many people who are interested in you, believe that playing in Europe will bring you closer to the target of getting a contract in the NBA exactly as you dream of it.
“Of course it is going to be an important summer. I just think that there won’t be a D-League dilemma. I always think that I have to work hard to reach the point where I play the best basketball I can. Many think that when you play in the D-League you don’t get better. That’s not true. I played there during my first season here and then I was drafted. In my second year i signed the contract with the Knicks. It didn’t matter that it was not a guaranteed one. They gave me the opportunity to be with them during the preparation period and participate in their camp. During the third year, I finally managed to actually play in the NBA! That’s my goal, to make steps each year in order to become better and not remain stagnant. Unfortunately, the latter is what happens to many other players. I am improving and I want to be evolved both basketball-wise and mental-wise. I wish I will play in the national team this summer. That’s a big target. Then we will see if I have a position in the NBA”.
Are you willing to wait for the NBA this summer, until things get clear in the transfer market, and by doing that risking to miss opportunities from Europe?
“For some reason, I believe that an NBA team will appear interested in me much earlier in the summer, informing me that they want to play for them and give me a contract! If that happens, it’s all fine and well. If not, then I will check the offers from Europe, weigh the situation and take the right decision for me”.
The whole world tries to foresee Giannis’ evolution. So let’s hear the prediction of Giannis’ favorite…
“If he continues to work like he does now, then we will see him making the unimaginable happening. Already some things are happening which I couldn’t even think of. I remember when were hoping that he would enter the Draft in order to at least be able to train the an NBA team in order to get some improvement. And three years later you see him becoming a Franchise Player for his team. Sometimes I check the site of the NBA or ESPN and I see comparisons between Giannis and Anthony Davis, who received a 145 million contract few time ago. People tell me that my brother will be one of the most important persons in the league in a couple of years. This is simply amazing for me and gives me the higher motive to keep working”.
Well, if you all play basketball at the highest level, this tradition may last for… 30 years in a row!
“Many combine basketball with money. They say how big are the NBA contracts. My friend, when I hang out with my brothers and we talk about basketball, money is the last thing we think about. Above everything else, we are interested in the heritage that we will leave behind. The legacy that we will leave as a family. People saying “Hey look at Alex, he is such a good player. Don’t you remember his brother playing basketball and then the other brother playing before him?” and so on”.