Giannis Antetokounmpo set to make preseason debut
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 07, 2017 07:53 AM
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks goes up for a dunk during a game against the Miami Heat on January 13, 2017 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
All-Star and reigning Kia Most Improved Player winner Giannis Antetokounmpo hasn't suited up for a preseason game yet for the Milwaukee Bucks as he mourned the sudden passing of his father last week.
His availability to play will be different tonight in Chicago.
The Bucks tweeted a short video of Antetokounmpo going through some shootaround drills and noted that he will play today against the Bulls.
Giannis will make his preseason debut tonight in Chicago! pic.twitter.com/UtilPLxKgs— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 6, 2017
Following the passing of Charles Antetokounmpo, Bucks GM Jon Horst issued a statement and as little as three days ago, the Bucks had little idea when Giannis would return. Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had more then about Antetokounmpo's status:
Antetokounmpo did not travel to Dallas with the team for their preseason opener against the Mavericks on Monday night. According to head coach Jason Kidd, when the 22-year-old all-star returns is up to him.
"There's no timetable," Kidd said. "He'll decide when it's time to come back and then it's for us to help him get back in the fold."
While Antetokounmpo has not been with the team over the past few days, everyone in the organization has had him in their thoughts and prayers. They have reached out to Antetokounmpo via calls and texts, and he has kept the lines of communication open. But everyone knows he needs space to be with his family during this difficult time.
"Just a very unfortunate situation," Kidd said. "Our prayers as an organization are with Giannis and his family. It's a really sad situation. I think he's handled it extremely well.
"With that being said, he's not with us and it's going to be some time, but he'll get back to work understanding his teammates and the organization are there to support the family."
Charles Antetokounmpo, who played more soccer than basketball, helped Giannis and his older brother, Thanasis, when they picked up basketball as teenagers.
"My dad was a footballer, so he worked with me on my footwork a little bit," Giannis said in 2014, following a win over the Knicks that marked his first NBA game played in front of his family. "And he coached me mentally to stay in the game and continue what I'm doing, just to play hard."