Milwaukee Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo has quickly become one of the most likable, fascinating, and downright fun players in the NBA. While he's still a work in progress, the Greek Freak has displayed varied skills and a consistently high motor. While this season has been a horrific one for the NBA-worst 12-47 Bucks, the franchise at least knows that they found one player who should be a part of their plans for some time.
Antetokounmpo's success has been all the more remarkable for the fact that he had arguably the greatest adjustment to NBA life of any player in his rookie class. The 19-year-old Athens native had never played above the second-tier of Greek professional basketball, wasn't even on NBA radars until a few months before the draft, and isn't done growing.
Apparently adjusting to NBA life impacted his plan for getting to one Bucks game, too. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated profiled Antetokounmpo for this week's issue of the magazine. In reporting the piece, Mannix learned about one peculiar incident early in the season (via SLAM):
Favorite--of many--anecdotes from @G_ante34 reporting. Early in the season, Giannis took a cab to Western Union to send money home...— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) March 5, 2014
…after sending all the money he could to Greece, he realized he didn't have enough left for cab fare. It was game day, so he started running— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) March 5, 2014
…he got about a mile before a couple stopped, asked if he was the Bucks rookie. He said yes. They picked him up and dropped him at the arena— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) March 5, 2014
Imagine, for a moment, that you were a member of the couple who saw a 6-10 athletic marvel bounding down a Milwaukee road towards the Bradley Center. Would you stop to pick him up? Before answering the obvious "yes," consider if your car has enough room for someone of this size. I am not sure mine does.
It's telling, I think, that Antetokounmpo ran out of money because he was sending it to his family in Greece and also decided to deal with the issue by exerting physical effort to get to the game on time. This kid is thoughtful, independent, and willing to put in the work. Bucks fans have reason to cheer. Please offer Antetokounmpo a ride if you see him running down the street. He deserves it.
- - - - - - -