Night in and night out, he’s facing the world’s best. But none of them can really say they were able to shut Giannis Antetokoumpo out. However, one guy from Greece has the right to say that.
I had a bad experience on the court once against the guy named Nikos Pappas. I was 15; he was like 19 at the time. And this is in front of all my friends, on my home court.Giannis Antetokounmpo, FOX Sports
The story goes like this: during a practice in ’09, a 19-year-old Nikos Pappas challenged a 12-year-old Kostas Antetokounmpo to a game of 1-on-1. By that time, Pappas had already made his professional debut in the Greek League with Panellinios and had just signed his contract with the Spanish League club Bilbao Basket the year before.
Meanwhile, the Antetokounpo brothers were just getting introduced to the game of basketball. But Kostas was up for a challenge. However, his older brother Giannis decided to step in. ‘No, you’ll play with me,’ he said with confidence. Nikos didn’t mind; he knew he could take him. Pappas challenged Giannis ‘I bet you’re not going to score.’ In the first game, a barefoot Giannis lost 11-0. But the confidence was still there. And so, after he had put his shoes on, he came back and threw the ball at Pappas. It was on.
Nevermind. It wasn’t on. Antetokounmpo lost 22-0, for the final result of 33-0. Nikos was posting him up and being physical with him, and despite the two being the same height, 15-year-old Giannis had no answer for it. So when Pappas said he would leave The Greek Freak scoreless, he really meant it, and Antetokounmpo didn’t take it well.
I started crying, left the court, and after that day I developed a beast mentality like I’m never going to lose again, and whenever I get the opportunity to play somebody 1-on-1, I’m going to try to dominate.Giannis Antetokounmpo, FOX Sports
All Giannis did since was dominate. Today, he’s one of the NBA’s biggest superstars, has two MVPs to his name, and is the third guy in the league history to win both MVP and DPOY in the same season. It’s safe to say that losing 33-0 to Nikos Pappas off the table.