Bulls Q&A: Kostas Antetokounmpo talks EuroBasket, Giannis originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Kostas Antetokounmpo has scored 21 points in 22 career NBA games. He is trying to latch on to his fourth team after getting drafted in 2018 by the Philadelphia 76ers and traded to the Dallas Mavericks, who waived him before he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
At Chicago Bulls training camp, Antetokounmpo is vying for the one vacant two-way contract, with competition from Malcolm Hill and Carlik Jones, among others.
Antetokounmpo sat down with NBC Sports Chicago recently to discuss this opportunity, what keeps driving him as he nears turning 25 without yet finding a consistent NBA home — and, yes, his more famous older brother, Giannis:
NBC Sports Chicago: How did this opportunity with the Bulls develop?
"They saw me playing at the EuroBasket and they wanted me here. So I think it was a good opportunity for me to try to improve."
How has the experience been?
"It’s been good. The first week of training camp is always hard. I’m learning a lot and getting closer to my teammates."
Describe yourself as a player?
"For sure I’m a defensive player, able to guard multiple positions and switch 1 through 5 (point guard through center). And then offensively, I space the floor and run the floor too. I definitely want to improve on my outside shooting and my playmaking in general."
What has management said to you about your chances to stick?
"They haven’t given me any promises. It’s just an Exhibit 10, training camp deal. We’ll see from there."
Do you feel pressure knowing there’s only one two-way contract available?
"I just stay the course, try to get better, try to help the team as much as I can. Everything is meant to be. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, move on to the next opportunity. The goal is just to get better. When I’m said and done, I’m going to say I became the best player I could."
What was the EuroBasket experience like for you?
"It was an amazing experience playing against some of the best players in Europe. Competing on that level is amazing."
Was it more special playing with your brothers?
"Yeah, for sure. Having those shared moments and shared experiences together is amazing."
[Editor’s note: Giannis played in six games, oldest brother Thanasis played in seven and Kostas appeared in two as Greece advanced to the quarterfinals, losing to Germany.]
What is it like having a brother as famous as Giannis?
"What is it like? I don’t know. He’s just my brother, to me. It’s not like he gets big-headed or anything like that. He’s just a humble guy who comes from a humble family. He keeps his head down and works hard."
How did you think he played at EuroBasket?
"He was amazing. When I saw him do that against other countries, I said, ‘There’s nobody that can do that.’ Obviously, there are amazing players at EuroBasket. You have Luka (Dončić). You have (Nikola) Jokić and other great players. But seeing what he was doing talent-wise with such high strength and skill, it’s amazing."
Where does his humility come from?
"That’s how you stay good. If you’re already thinking you’re the best player you can be, you’re not going to work as hard. That’s what makes him get better every year. Seeing your brother have that mentality and my oldest brother have that same mentality, you can always get better. It drives you. My parents taught us so much. Seeing your parents working hard every day just to survive gives you a different drive. What we saw helped put in us what we have."
How has he helped you?
"A lot. He helps me mostly mentality-wise. Him being my big brother, he gives me advice about basketball and life."
Do you ever joke with Giannis that you won an NBA title before him?
[Editor’s note: Kostas logged 20 minutes for the 2019-20 Lakers, who, with Alex Caruso, won the NBA title one season before Giannis’ Bucks did.]
(laughs) "I was in the beginning. But then he got his 10 months after mine. He came back quick."
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