The Milwaukee Bucks are facing several big obstacles coming up on the end of their season. Their game against the Rockets last night did them no favors. Unfortunately, this is probably not going to be a ‘Bucks in Six’ year.
The Rockets came into this game with a 50-13 record, and a 16 game winning streak (sheesh…). The Bucks are 7th in the eastern conference as of March 8th, which is okay to try and get into playoffs, but it’ll be a tough run. The Rockets ran the court in this game like a well-oiled machine. No one can say they didn’t earn it. Rockets kept the lead for the game’s entirety, and had great defensive strategy playing against some of the Bucks’s superstars like Antetokounmpo and Middleton. The real show-stopper in this game: James Harden’s beard. Not so much James Harden, he played okay, but the beard won this game.
Besides the beard, I had the opportunity to sit next to a man who grew up on the outskirts of Greece. This was his first-ever Bucks game. He was facinated by Giannis (the Greek Freak) Antetokounmpo and wanted to know more about him. I immediately took it upon myself to stalk the crap out of The Greek Freak online, and was surprised by what I found.
Antetokounmpo is the son of migrants from Nigeria. He grew up in Greece as a very poor, scrawny kid. He played basketball at the YMCA and eventually was noticed by recruiters. He had the skill, strength, body, and mind for the game. He was recruited immediately and pulled his family out of poverty playing the sport he loves. He’s a regular Cinderellaman. I already liked the guy but his story alone boosted him way up on the totem poll.
Antetokounmpo is often described as loyal, and has a track record for remembering those who have helped him succeed. In Greece, a cafe owner named Giannis Tzikas often made the hungry Antetokounmpo brothers sandwiches for free. He was kind to them, and Antetokounmpo has made it public his gratitude for Tzikas.
Loyalty to the Bucks runs deep for Antetokounmpo. He has publicly stated how grateful he is to be playing pro for the Bucks, and how much he enjoys the city of Milwaukee. He has stated that he might not play as well as he does if he were in a bigger, more overwhelming city like Los Angeles or New York. He’s a humble, not-too-flashy guy. He definitely belongs in Wisconsin.
Although the Bucks have a tough road ahead, they still have a little time to pull it together. With Jason Kidd’s departure the team was on an upswing, but now they’ve leveled out a little bit. They just need to find their groove again. The Greek Freak should probably call up Tzikas to cater in some of those magic sandwiches.
For more on Antetokounmpo and The Bucks in general, check out these articles: