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February 17, 2017

Giannis Antetokounmpo

New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. Giannis, you're living the dream now at the All-Star. What's the feeling?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: The feeling is great. I'm really excited for the All-Star game and just with the other players and just being here. I'm really excited just to have fun with my family. Basically, just to have fun with my family and the guys.

Q. Looking back to when you were a kid, how hard was it to get here? And how does it make you feel to be a model now and inspiration for so many kids?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Feels good. It was hard. It was hard to get here, a lot of sacrifices, a lot of hard work. But it feels good. Just being an inspiration for the young kids. I've just got to set an example for them. They've got to believe in their dream and work as hard as they can to achieve it.

Q. Giannis, your first reaction was wow. Was this everything you thought it would be?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: This is much more. A lot more. This is crazy. I haven't seen so much media ever in my life. But it's fun. As I say, I'm just trying to live in the moment. Just to be around these guys, being around greats, LeBron [James] and K.D. [Kevin Durant], these guys.

Q. You came here as a rookie, this city, New Orleans, and now four years later you're here as an All-Star. What's been the biggest difference? Back then, I'm sure all of us weren't around.
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: As I said, it's just hard work. When I came, just being here my rookie year and just being in New Orleans and going through the All-Star weekend, it was fun. So I just want to be here again. You know, I work hard. My teammates help me. The Bucks help me. The coaches have helped me to achieve my goal and come back here.

Q. Giannis, speaking of that, Kevin Durant just said -- I asked him about you, and he remembered that first game where you guys played, and you wanted to make such a good showing against him. I remember you did in Oklahoma City. He said you should be able to be here every year the rest of the All-Star games in your career, he said. Do you think you can? And what do you think about that comment he made?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: That's a big compliment coming from K.D. You know, I just -- it's about I believe I can be here for as long as I play basketball. But the most important thing is that I believe it.

I appreciate the compliment from K.D. It's big coming from him, but I believe that I can be here and just put in the work and try to be here every year because this is fun. This is definitely fun.

Q. How did he influence you by watching his game?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: He was one of my favorite players when I started playing basketball, just coming into the league. Being that big and having the size and do the things that he does on the court, that's unbelievable. So I just want to be like him when I was young.

Q. Do you remember some of the All-Stars that have embraced you in the early part of your career that now that you're with them on this stage, it's special for you?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: LeBron, Kevin Durant, Paul George. Who else? I can't think of all the guys I know, but definitely LeBron, K.D., and Paul George.

Q. You've become an ambassador for Greece of sorts in recent years. What's the message you want the rest of the world to know about Greeks and Greece?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: It's a wonderful country. That Greeks have a great heart. Whenever you go to Greece, they'll make you feel like home. That's what they did for me and my family. Being in a tough situation right now as a country, we do whatever it takes because the country is real tough. We've got a tough mentality.

Q. When President Obama went to Athens a couple years ago, he mentioned you in his speech. What was your initial reaction to hear the President of the United States mention your name like that?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I was shocked. President Obama said my name as an example for the Greeks. For President Obama to say me as an example for hard work and saying for the Greeks to work as hard as I do, it's amazing. It's a great compliment from President Obama.

Q. Giannis, what are you most looking forward to this weekend leading into the game?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: As I said, interacting, being in the locker room, taking my notes, asking the guys, LeBron, how do you view the game, what do you think about that? What do you think about this? How can you be a leader? How can you lead the team? Just things like that, just talk to them and take notes and have fun and live in the moment.

Q. Any first-year jitters or anything going through your mind? Any nerves going into it at all?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No, no, just go out there and smile and do what I do best.

Q. Your Africa fans loved you in the Africa game in 2015. Are you going to come down and repeat that in Johannesburg?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Yeah, hopefully, if they invite me again and want me down there.

Q. You're always invited.

Q. Thon Maker has been getting a few starts and a few more minutes with the Bucks and getting in a bit of a starting role. What are your thoughts on his season so far?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: He's playing great. Every day in practice gets more trust. He's an unbelievable talent. I think he doesn't have a ceiling. He's one of those guys that don't have a ceiling. If he works hard and does whatever it takes to win, he's going to get more minutes and get a lot better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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