Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t remember exactly what time it was when he finally left the gym.
The Milwaukee Bucks all-star forward emerged from the team’s practice facility well after everyone else had left the building and the downtown streets were empty.
“It was late,” he says, taking a second to try again to recall the time. “It was late.”
Antetokounmpo heading to the Bucks practice facility following a game is nothing new; often, after a game in which he is unsatisfied with his performance that’s where you can find him.
Again on this early December evening, he was driven to the gym by another unsatisfactory performance, although this one wasn’t one delivered by the two-time all-star.
Rather, it came from his younger brother Alex, a junior at Dominican High School (Milwaukee), who hours earlier had scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds against Shoreland Lutheran.
Older brother didn’t like what he what he had seen from Alex, so he pulled a detour on the way home.
“I went to the game that night,” Antetokounmpo said. “I don’t care about him coming in and scoring – last game he had 38; I don’t care about that – I care about that he has that eye of the tiger, he has that fire to him. I thought, in that game, he didn’t have that hunger, so I said, ‘Okay, cool. I’m going to make you hungry.’”
So, instead of heading back home, Giannis parked his car two blocks away from Fiserv Forum at the Bucks practice facility. There, the two brothers put up countless shots, ran on the treadmill and lifted weights into the wee hours.
“It was the day before we played Detroit,” Giannis said. “He thought, ‘He’s not going to stay here all night; he has a game tomorrow.’ I don’t care about that. I’ll figure it out. All I care about is my brother getting better.”
The youngest Antetokounmpo hitting his stride
With the way Alex Antetokounmpo has played since that late-night trip to the practice facility, he has shown no need for a return visit.
Antetokounmpo has seemingly hit his stride – a Eurostep, likely – as his junior season rolls on, averaging 21.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the 6-1 Knights. The past three games, Antetokounmpo has taken that production to another level, averaging 34 points and 12 rebounds.
“His last couple of weeks, he’s looked like a completely different player,” Dominican coach Jim Gosz said. “That switch went on and he’s really taken over games for us. I’ve seen his the last couple of games really asserting himself.”
While Alex is starting to show the potential to be the fourth Antetokounmpo brother to hear his name called in the NBA draft (both Thanasis, 26, and Kostas Antetokounmpo, 21, were second-round picks) it hasn’t always come this easily for him.