Milwaukee Bucks international scout Kornél Dávid shared details of his trips to watch a young Giannis Antetokounmpo play in Greece.
Given the incredible heights that Giannis Antetokounmpo has reached over the course of his first eight years in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, the reigning MVP’s basketball origins have taken on an almost legendary quality.
Selected 15th overall by the Bucks as a little known, raw, and remarkably skinny prospect, Antetokounmpo’s spot just outside of the lottery certainly raised some eyebrows back in 2013.
In time, though, it’s become clear that although nobody could have predicted just how special Giannis would become, there were some who identified meaningful potential in the youngster.
As such, stories centered around the near empty Greek gyms where Giannis and his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo came up together, while often forced to share shoes, have since proven to be a source of endless fascination for NBA fans, and Bucks fans, in particular.
Among the figures who has such a story is Kornél Dávid, a Hungarian forward who carved out a career for himself as an NBA journeyman around the turn of the century.
Following his playing days, Kornél made the transition into scouting, and has spent the best part of the last decade working as an international scout for the Bucks.
Kornél joined the Bucks at a similar time to Antetokounmpo, but as he detailed in a fascinating profile of his career as both a player and scout by Josh Martin for CloseUp360, he was one of the first scouts to take a closer look at Giannis during his time working for the Phoenix Suns.
Future Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo stood out to scouts even in his pre-NBA days in Greece.
Kornél details making a trip to Athens back in 2012 to run the rule over Antetokounmpo, which was necessary considering how difficult it was to gather real intel due to Giannis’ absence from traditional European competitions:
“Everybody was wondering, ‘Okay, this kid, I heard about him. He’s from Greece, but he’s not really from Greece. He doesn’t have a Greek passport,'” Kornel says. “He did not play at that time in any European competitions, in any youth system—not under 16, under 18, nowhere. So seeing him competing against the same age group, it was impossible to see him because he never competed against those guys.”
Kornél describes Giannis as “head and shoulders better than the other ones” on his trips to Greece, but also noted how by his second visit word seemed to have gotten out with multiple NBA scouts in attendance.
Still, predicting what was to come remained almost impossible.
“I thought he could be special, but the timeframe to when and how long he needs to be that special, it just was a guess,” Kornel says. “And the ceiling where he can be, nobody I think can say that, ‘Okay, this guy going to be an MVP in the league and that good.'”
Antetokounmpo’s story may prove to be a once in a generation type event, but the Bucks would undoubtedly love Kornél or any of their other scouts to help them to uncover some more overseas gems in the not too distant future.