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This Greek NBA Rookie Charmed The Internet This Week By Trying His First Ever Smoothie
January 24, 2014
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is 6'10". He has a wingspan of 7'3", and hands that measure almost 40 cm from base to the tip of his middle finger. And earlier this week, he utterly charmed sports fans by using those hands to grasp a distinctively American treat for the very first time:

The tweet quickly spread far beyond his few thousands followers.

Antetokounmpo is a rookie for the Milwaukee Bucks, and currently the only Greek-born athlete playing in the league (at 19, he's also the league's youngest player right now). He grew up in Athens to Nigerian parents who immigrated to Greece two years before he was born (the original spelling of their last name is Adetokoubo). Despite his Greek birth, he only received full citizenship there in 2013, in time to play on the Greek junior national team at the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship. Athletics clearly runs in the family: three of his four brothers have played professional sports, including his older brother Thanasis, who played with him on the Athens-based pro basketball team Filathlitikos.

Although Antetokounmpo is officially listed at 6'9", he told the Journal Times last year that he's still growing. “I am now 6-10 and one quarter,” he said. “I still have three-and-a-half years to grow.”

As Bleacher Report points out, his size and athleticism allow him to make plays like this effortless one-handed alley-oop:

Antetokounmpo has also captured attention for his refreshing blog entries for the Greek site Sport 24 on being an NBA rookie. In a recent post, he reflects on spending Christmas in the U.S.:

For me the best gift is the NBA. What I am going through is amazing. Even now, when I am stepping on the floor, I think it's not real. Until seven months ago I was playing in ESKA and A2 [Greek lower divisions] and now I am in the NBA. If this isn't a gift, then what is?

I did, however, receive an expensive gift from my teammate Larry Sanders, who gave me a pair of Gucci shoes. I told him that he shouldn't have given me such an expensive gift. He said: "You are my rookie and I have to take care of you." Maybe he is spoiling me so that I will throw him more lobs!

(translation via Brewhoop)

Check out some great shots of Antetokounmpo, on and off the court, in our gallery above.

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