There’s no doubt Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most talented players in the NBA, which draws more attention to his less accomplished brother Thanasis holding a roster spot as a teammate on the Milwaukee Bucks.
Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Emoni Bates, himself at times a focus of high-level scrutiny, recently took to social media to lend his support to the older Antetokounmpo brother.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is a 28-year-old two-time NBA MVP while Thanasis Antetokounmpo is a bench player who never averaged more than 10 minutes per game in any of his four previous seasons with Milwaukee. They each have a championship ring, won with the Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals.
The worst player in the NBA would still be one of the best basketball players in the world, and Bates made sure to remind everyone that there is more to being a good teammate than impressive statistics and a collection of awards.
The 19-year-old showed an encouraging maturity in that observation and hopefully can apply those ideas to his own NBA career, which at times looked like it may not happen.
A very highly touted high school player, he was expected to star when he went to the University of Memphis to play college ball. A back injury contributed to a disappointing freshman season there, and he then transferred to Eastern Michigan University for the 2022-23 campaign.
After a solid collegiate season, he was a second-round pick (No. 49 overall) in the 2023 NBA Draft. From there, he impressed both Cavaliers teammates like Donovan Mitchell and other observers around the NBA to make it into the league. He has said that joining the Cavs has helped him rekindle his love of the game.
He made his debut in the team’s third game, and in two games this season, is averaging 4.5 points and almost 15 minutes per contest. But perhaps even more impressive is his willingness to speak out in support of an older fellow NBA player on another team with seemingly nothing to gain from doing so.