Long Before Winning Finals MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo Cluelessly Took on Wisconsin Winters Without a Coat

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo cemented his status as a local legend after winning Finals MP, and his future is directly tied to the city of Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks will surely enjoy sitting atop the NBA throne for the time being. Soon enough, however, the work will begin again.

The Greek Freak should continue to build on his legacy and, so long as he is around, will give the Bucks a chance to win titles every season. His superstardom and talent are as generational as they come.

Long before the fame and the success, however, Antetokounmpo was merely a starry-eyed teenager who didn’t understand how to dress for harsh Wisconsin winters.

Giannis Antetokounmpo entered the NBA as an unsung prospect from Greece


Some NBA players begin their careers with an immense level of hype.

Zion Williamson was a viral sensation before becoming a national celebrity at Duke and parlaying that success into a No. 1 draft selection. LeBron James was tabbed as Michael Jordan’s successor essentially from the time he was in high school. More recently, Cade Cunningham built quite a bit of buzz as a top pick.

Conversely, not too many people knew much about Antetokounmpo when he came into the league in 2013.

Antetokounmpo didn’t start playing basketball until he was 13 years old. Nevertheless, his size and length translated into a promising career. Still, NBA scouts weren’t necessarily flocking to Greece.

The Bucks, however, saw something in Giannis. They made him the 15th overall pick and quickly integrated him as a franchise building block.

Antetokounmpo had an apparent trajectory. He didn’t understand that Wisconsin demands quite a few more layers of clothing than Greece.

Antetokounmpo left Greece for the NBA but forget his winter attire in the process

Jane Gallop is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She also has a fervent passion for all things Milwaukee Bucks.

It came as quite a surprise to Gallop, then, to see the team’s first-round draft pick traversing the city without a coat on an 18-degree day in November of 2013.

“He was not just walking or jogging. He was running,” Gallop said, via Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic. “He wasn’t dressed like people who run for exercise. He was wearing jeans. I looked at him and I thought, This person doesn’t know how to dress when it’s 18 degrees.”

Antetokounmpo wasn’t just running to warm up. That was his form of transportation. The youngster didn’t have an American driver’s license or a car, and he also didn’t think about keeping money in reserve for cab fares.

This isn’t the most surprising story. Antetokounmpo has always been about humble means. Still, it’s very humorous when considering how his career has taken off and how he has endeared himself to the city of Milwaukee. Perhaps his naivety is just another part of that process.

Fashion isn’t much of an issue for Antetokounmpo or the Bucks now

Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrates during the Milwaukee Bucks championship parade.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has come quite a long way from his days as a Greek prospect | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Style and comfort aren’t labors for Antetokounmpo anymore. He has a championship ring.

The 26-year-old already had plenty of hardware in his trophy case, having won a pair of NBA MVP Awards as well as a Defensive Player of the Year Award. But the selfless Bucks star always maintained a team-first attitude. Nothing else mattered so long as he eventually won an NBA title. Mission accomplished.

Antetokounmpo has achieved far beyond the more modest means with which he started. Hopefully, he has also learned to bring a coat every now and then.

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