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July 7, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks

Practice Day

Q. Your numbers were so good last night in the game that it looks like you must have been feeling great, but you could put up numbers when you're maybe not that healthy. How do we evaluate how good you were last night and what we can expect in Game 2?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No, I feel good. I was out there, so I felt good. I tried to help my team in any way possible. But going to Game 2, can't predict the future, hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to win.

Q. How are you feeling today? Any soreness?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I feel good. I feel good. I don't feel good doing this media. (Smiling.) Thank God first day I didn't have to do it. But my body feels good.

Q. Now basically you go to every arena and the fans are counting when you shoot the free throw. Now you feel the pressure or do you find it very funny? When you do that and when you hear all the counting, what runs through your mind?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I feel like in the first free throw I shoot I'm kind of like, oh, yeah, here we go again. But by like the fifth or sixth, 10th, go down the line, it kind of fades off. But at the end of the day, you got to embrace it. You cannot fight it. You got to embrace it, and it's part of me now. So, yeah, I just embrace it and just go with it. I don't feel pressure, no.

Q. What does Vin Baker mean to you and what does he mean to the organization?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I don't know what he means to the organization, but I know what he means to me: great friend, spend a lot of time together working out, spend a lot of time in Greece, try to teach me a little bit of his tricks. But he's just a great human being, a great guy to be around. I've been with him four years now. It's been a great journey.

Q. Why don't you like talking to us, Giannis?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I love talking to you guys. (Laughter.) I love talking to every person. I just don't like this.

Q. Oh, the cameras.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I never did. But, yeah, if you guys want to have a conversation like in the hotel or whatever. Like, Sam, I was with you, what? 11 p.m. we were talking for like what 20 minutes?

Q. You lost your room key?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I lost my room key. See, I can have a conversation with all of you guys. Eric, he knows me.

Yeah, just don't like doing part of the media. But it's part of it now. In the NBA Finals. So you got to embrace it. You got to go through the experience and enjoy it at the same time. This is my first time.

Q. I wanted to ask you, we talked before about just about what it would mean to win for the team that chose you. I know you got a ways to go, still got four more wins to get to that point, but what does it mean to be able to do it here? You see other players go about it in a different way. What does it mean for you?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: To win a championship in Milwaukee?

Q. Correct.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: It's a goal. It's a goal of mine. You know obviously you see a lot of people have different routes. You can never judge anybody for the way he wins a championship, that he chooses to win a championship. But at the end of the day doing it with the team that you started (with), I feel like it means more.

So, yeah, for me it's like a dream. It's a goal of mine, and not just me. Everybody, every basketball player that plays in the NBA wants to win a championship. Most of them. But doing it with the team that drafted you, in the city that embraced you, the organization that helped you, it means a lot.

Q. Obviously last night you probably were a little bit nervous because of the knee situation and it's Game 1. Does it feel more like a regular series now or is there still a wow factor for you?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: No, I wasn't nervous about my knee yesterday. I wasn't thinking about my knee. But obviously going to Game 2, hopefully I can feel more comfortable, more confident to go downhill, to make more plays. We'll see. We'll see. I don't know how tomorrow is going to be, but hopefully I can be in a position that I can make more plays tomorrow.

Q. You have participated in Basketball Without Borders in Africa. You played in the NBA Africa Game. And in this series, you're one of seven players either from Africa or with a parent who was born there. I was wondering what you think of the NBA's efforts expanding basketball into Africa from what you've seen, and leading up to so many players from the continent participating in the Finals.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Throughout the year I had the opportunity to notice that there was a lot of African players. There was a lot of Nigerian players also playing with teams. It just speaks for itself how much talent that can come from Africa. I had the opportunity to go there six years ago with my family and see for myself. I was able to coach those young kids -- young kids? They were my age, but they were kids and they had so much talent. So hopefully moving forward we can see more kids from Africa join the NBA.

Q. Bud grew up three hours from here, so there are a bunch of Suns fans that are pulling for you now. But he's a coach's son, so his father sends him messages of how you play, wants you guys to full-court press the minute you get off the bus. Did you know that about his dad or joke around or hear any of that, that close bond?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: His dad was a coach?

Q. Yeah, Hall of Famer.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Hall of Famer? I didn't know that. Wow. That's amazing. I didn't know that. That's something new. But his dad wants us to?

Q. Full-court press.

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Full-court press? He's probably right. He's probably right. (Laughter.) But we'll see. We'll see what the game plan is tomorrow.

Q. Does this mean anything for Bud to be playing in his home to you? Can you tell that his home state, coming home, is that meaningful?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I don't know. We don't talk about that, but it probably does. Like if I was playing in Greece, Athens, it would probably mean something to me playing in my neighborhood that I grew up and around the people that know me. So it's probably a little bit more extra motivation. But it's the same with everybody. Everybody has a little bit extra motivation to get the job done. But, yeah, as I said, he probably has a little more extra motivation. I didn't know his dad was a Hall of Famer. That's crazy. He never told me that.

And I think he gave us a great advice. Press full court and make it a little bit tough for them? I think that's a good advice.

Q. You guys started to switch 1 through 5 when you were out in Games 5 and 6 against Atlanta. Last night felt like your first time doing it for like a full game. How do you feel like you can still impact the game as a help defender, which you're so good at, while doing the switching and doing all those different things, which isn't what you guys normally do defensively?

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: When you switch 1 through 5, the reason you do it is to keep guys in front so they can't get down hill. It's kind of hard to read when to be a help defender, when to be active, because you don't know when the defense is going to break down. You don't know at what point, because guys keep switching, so if you're away from the ball you're like, Oh, when shall I go, when shall I go. But when it's more like when we -- I don't know, for example, play center or we play a hedge or whatever the case might be, you kind of know what's going to happen in that situation, so you anticipate it and you're closer to the help position.

But I feel like switching 1 through 5, at times it was really good, especially in Game 5, Game 6. It was really good for the team. But, you know, moving forward, I don't know. This team has great players that can play the one-on-one game and they can take the mismatch really well, which guy they want to attack. So it makes a little bit harder. And you have guys that, they're great playmakers, and most of the time they're going to make the right decision. So we just got to make it as tough as possible. Maybe pick them up full court until they get to half court and they're tired. Now they can't make the right decision. Maybe you switch guys 1 through 5, but then you still create the wall. You still make them make a tough shot over you, but do not break down the defense.

But to answer your question, it's harder to identify when to help. But I'm getting more comfortable with it and I will figure it out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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