CLEVELAND – Introduced one at a time with massive grins and dance moves, Thanasis, Giannis and Alex Antetokounmpo soaked in the all-star stage for the skills competition Saturday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
They said going into the event that it wasn’t about winning, but about that moment – and the chances to take photos and spend time with their mother, Veronica, as well.
The brothers finished third in the three-team competition, won by the Cleveland trio of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, but afterward the Antetokounmpos said the day was better than they could have imagined.
“Oh yeah, and some. And some. We really enjoyed it,” Giannis said. “We were nervous a little bit before we stepped out there on the floor. Like once we got out there we were shooting the ball, passing the ball, just running, just competing. That’s fun. But at the end of the day we know we’re grateful, we have that joy in us no matter what happened.
“We’re blessed just to have this opportunity to be with Thanasis. (Alex) is in Toronto. Thanasis is with me. Kostas is in France. We don’t spend a lot of time together in the season, right? Just to go to the challenge and compete together, that’s great. I feel like that’s a great feeling.
“I feel like my mom enjoyed. She took a bunch of videos for us. So, I’m happy. I’m very happy.”
Thanasis said it was just like playing in the backyard together and Alex added, “It was great. I had a lot of fun. I mean, it was a different experience for me, something I’ve never experienced. So I’m very grateful for that, to have that opportunity. I’m blessed.”
As for the competition, the brothers said the relay portion of the challenge was the most difficult, being that it benefitted smaller players – but they were all proud they won the passing challenge.
“You know, I’m so happy that we won; I’m so happy we won the passing!” Thanasis said, looking down the chairs at his brother. “We can pass bro! We can pass! I was happy we won in pass because we play against point guards!”
They admitted there was some confusion over how their night ended, as they had to go into a three-point shoot-off with the Cavaliers. It was a potentially one-and-done challenge against Darius Garland, but the brothers thought each player would get one shot. So Thanasis led off. He missed, Garland made his and the brothers were out. They said had they known Alex would’ve taken the shot.
Despite that, they all agreed this may not be the last time the brothers do the challenge – at least if it’s up to them.
“I think we have to…” Thanasis started
“We gotta run it back,” Alex finished.
Giannis leaned over for confirmation and asked, “You guys wanna come back next year?”
And there was no doubt in the reply.
Marquette’s Juan Toscano-Anderson reaches dunk contest final
Juan Toscano-Anderson, the first Marquette University player to compete in a slam dunk contest, survived a drawn-out first round to advance to the finals against New York’s Obi Toppin on Saturday night before finishing as the runner-up.
Toscano-Anderson bested Cole Anthony and Jalen Green with dunks that scored 44 and 43, respectively, to reach the final.
But, his first attempt in the final earned just a 39 from the judges. Toppin’s first dunk scored a 45, meaning Toscano-Anderson had to go big for his final attempt. The 28-year-old donned a Jason Richardson jersey and tried to recreate the former Warriors’ between-the-legs from the baseline contest winner from 2003, but after a handful of attempts, Toscano-Anderson couldn’t complete it.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism