With trembling digital recorders and microphones held just under Giannis Antetokounmpo’s chin – he's 6-feet, 11-inches tall and arms get tired holding them up there for long – Antetokounmpo broke the flow of a standard post game Q&A by turning to a reporter who was standing to the side of the scrum, and grinned, broadly.
What you got? What you got? You got something for me? I know you got something?
The reporter, who writes for a Chinese outlet that covers the Bucks, said he was waiting to see him in the NBA slam dunk contest on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
"I’ll try to do something fancy," Antetokounmpo said, a toothless grin reaching, seemingly, from ear to ear. "Something good."
But what’s good?
Or, specifically, fancy? Is it something like this?
He won’t say.
What Antetokounmpo did say, for sure, is that he won’t dunk over John Henson, if his 6-11 teammate does indeed travel to New York to watch the festivities.
"I cannot do that," Antetokounmpo deadpanned. "I’m human."
He’s not sure if he’s going to pull Brandon Knight into it, either, but said his older brother Thanasis will be there to help out.
Thanasis, who plays for the Westchester Knicks of the NBA Developmental League, leaned against the gray brick of BMOHBC tunnel and said yes, he’s going to Brooklyn with the rest of the Antetokounmpo family, but he said he’s not sure if he’s helping his younger brother in the contest.
And if he does help, he has no idea what his younger brother has planned or what he can even do.
"The top 10 dunk the other night (against Portland) was the first time I ever saw him windmill," Thanasis said.
Thanasis, who participated in the NBADL slam dunk contest last year, said the only advice he could offer his younger brother is to "just pretend you’re in the gym with your friends."
"And have fun."
That shouldn’t be problem for the 20-year-old second year forward.
It never is, really.
Pulling on black sneakers Wednesday night as he got ready to leave the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Antetokounmpo said, to no one in particular, he was going to bring home the trophy.
"Oh, man, ‘Greek Freak,’ I’m pretty sure he’s ready," said Bucks guard O.J. Mayo with a smile. "He’s in his own world when it comes to dunkin’ and he can almost do anything with the size of his hands and his length, how long his arms are. It’ll be exciting to watch and see what he does."
There may be an homage to a past dunk champion somewhere in his repertoire, as Bucks assistant coach Greg Foster suggested Antetokounmpo look up some highlights of Larry Nance, a 6-10 forward who played 14 years, split evenly between Phoenix and Cleveland.
A three-time All Star who averaged 17.1 points for his career, Nance won the first slam dunk contest, held in 1976.
"I’ve studied him. His dunks were amazing," Antetokounmpo said. "I just don’t want to put pressure on me. I’m just going to go there and have fun and try to do my best."
Here are some of Antetokounmpo’s noteworthy in-game slams from this year alone:
Against Phoenix …
And Boston …
And this one in Philadelphia …
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.