August 10 Mirin Fader will release a book on Giannis Antetokounmpo, recent MVP of the finals. On The Ringer she published today an excerpt from ‘Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP,’ with in particular a cult and quite violent anecdote on the Greek and Nicolas batum. Back in 2015-16 in a game between the Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets.
Before a game in Charlotte, Giannis was sitting on the sidelines with (Josh) Oppenheimer (Bucks assistant). They watched Nicolas Batum, a 2m03 winger who was having an All-Star caliber season, warm up.
“Do you see Batum?” Said Oppenheimer to Giannis
“Watch it,” Oppenheimer says. “Really watch it. He’s a very good player. If you work really hard you might be able to be a player like Nic Batum. ”
Giannis stared at his coach for a second, not frowning, but looking surprised. A little offended. ‘Coach,’ said Giannis, ‘if I become Nic Batum, I go back to Greece.’
At just 21, in his 3rd season in the NBA, as he was starting to establish himself as a good NBA player, Giannis was already determined to become more than a good player. Behind he crossed the stages at breakneck speed, MIP, All-Star, All-NBA, MVP then NBA champion and MVP of the finals.