poverty in Greece, the prophecy of Kobe Bryant, who is the new NBA champion- Corriere.it

of Flavio Vanetti

He won the NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks, Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s team. They call it “Unicorn”

In the name of number 50. Like his points (in addition to 14 rebounds and 5 blocks) in game 6 of the NBA final, won by 105-98, which ended the series 4-2 against the Phoenix Suns. And like the years that have passed since the first and so far only triumph of the Milwaukee Bucks. That of 1971 was the team of Ferdinand Lew Alcindor, recently become Kareem Abdul Jabbar; those of today, however, are the Bucks of Giannis Antetokounmpo, 26, a big Greek-Nigerian boy with destiny to be predestined because the divinity of basketball has endowed it with overflowing means. If there is an evolution of the species, the Jabbar of today is him: with many differences, of course, but with the charm of a thread that unites the present with the past.

The Greek Freak — o The Human Alphabet, if you prefer the other nickname – so he did it. He had promised to return Milwaukee to glory and was up to his word, dragging his older brother Thanasis into success as well, just a good bencher but involved in a singular family saga because last year, with the Lakers, he had already won Kostas.

The curiosity, therefore, is that three out of four Antetokounmpo – only the minor, Alex, who plays in Spain is missing – are NBA champions. Today Giannis’ words are one of pride for the loyalty shown to his club: “I could have left, but I won here”. A clear dig at the flattery of the super-teams, though Milwaukee will pay him $ 228 million over five years to keep him. Deserved money, however.

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Antetokounmpo had begun the final with the torments of his left knee injury against the Atlanta Hawks and the Bucks had gone 2-0 down. But then he was unleashed, to the sound of 40 and more points and with a defensive play – the decisive block on Ayton in Game 4 – which in the end changed the inertia of the series.

Kobe Bryant, good soul, in 2019 had challenged the Greek via Twitter who plays with the number 34 shirt (by the way, exploded in NBA merchandising). After the withdrawal, which took place in 2016, the Black Mamba enjoyed motivating young talents by assigning “missions” to accomplish. One day Giannis wrote to him: “I’m still waiting for mine.” Kobe replied: “Mvp”. In 2019 Antetokounmpo was elected best player, but the playoffs did not go as hoped. Bryant repeated the tweet and extended the roll: “My boyfriend… Mvp. Immense. Next goal: NBA title “.

Easy profeta, Kobe. Giannis is what in US basketball they call “unicorn”, a mythological animal but which can sometimes exist in reality. That of this crazy athlete, with an “inhuman” stride, give her arms like airplane wings (extended, reach 222 centimeters), and with frightening leaps it is there for all to see.

In Athens, for many years, Antetokounmpo lived with his family in semi-clandestinity, doing the “vucumprà” and hoping not to be sent back to Nigeria. Her and her relatives’ story will be told in a film Disney live action (the title is The Greek Freak) and the beauty of Giannis is that he has never forgotten the past. Rather, he treasured the hard times. The unicorn on a mission planted a flag on the top of the NBA and another, more important one, where the roots of his life are.

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July 21, 2021 (change July 21, 2021 | 22:29)

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