One of the many, many, many reasons we love Giannis Antetokounmpo is – when he’s not mercilessly dunking on dudes’ heads, stink-facing defenses into oblivion and steamrolling past superstars up the list of the NBA’s best players – he’s a goofy, grinning, gangly Greek who laughs at his own dad jokes, lip-syncs Justin Bieber songs and does everything, on and off the court, with a kind of unadulterated, lighthearted joyousness that makes it humanly impossible not to smile at him.
Giannis seems to be a genuinely nice guy. But he does love pranks. And, as the league’s second-leading scorer and top All-Star vote-getter, Antetokounmpo has earned the right to demand a little prima donna celebrity treatment – especially from rookies.
So, when Giannis tells you he needs towels in his seat every game, you damn well better do your rookie duties. Otherwise, as he says in a phenomenal Instagram video pranking first-year teammate Sterling Brown, "This is what you get."
Behold, the great jape of the Greek Freak:
What’s great about this video, besides the simple pleasure of watching popcorn pour out the doors of Brown’s Mercedes SUV – filling a rookie’s car with popcorn is a classic NBA prank that’s victimized Dion Waiters, Kent Bazemore, Rudy Gobert and others – is how Giannis starts out acting super hard, sounding like a mob boss, lecturing into the camera and scolding Brown about needing towels "after every game!" And then, seconds later, he’s dancing and jumping around, screaming and singing and so, so proud of himself, as a beaming Jabari Parker merrily throws popcorn to him from out of the sunroof like it's a championship parade.
The Bucks posted a longer, even more delightful video on Twitter:
The best part is when Brown says, "You over there eating it," and Parker responds perfectly, "I'm trying to help you get it out of your car, bro." Teamwork!
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Giannis is the best. And Parker, who's been out almost a year recovering from a torn ACL and is expected to return in February, looks healthy and happy!
Naturally, Brown concludes the experience by planning to pay the prank forward.
"I can’t wait til my rookies come in," he says. "Ooh, I can’t wait."
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.