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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s play-calling, for defense against COVID-19, in our “court” known as life

Joanne Trikoulis
Joanne Trikoulis
Joanne Trikoulis is a contributing editor and is based in Athens, Greece. She is the CEO & Founder of Axion-Ellas. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HNA and its representatives.

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Special to the Hellenic News of America

The Greek government launched its latest awareness campaign against Covid-19 just in time for this year’s restricted and difficult Christmas and New Year’s holiday season.  The new tv spot featuring, the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo urges citizens to abide by safety measures, including wearing a mask which he puts on at the end of the spot himself, decorated with the Greek flag.  

In the video, Antetokounmpo sits in front of what is alluded to as a self-set-up recording. This is fitting, as that is how life has been carried out these last few months, with virtual meetings, virtual conferences, virtual learning classes, or celebrity and personal live Instagram and Facebook streaming.

While he delivers his message, there is a photo montage depicting various scenes of Antetokounmpo’s life: growing up in his Athens neighborhood basketball court, playing for the Greek national basketball team, with his family and his brothers (also basketball stars in their own right), images showing Giannis Greek heritage and pride both on and off the court and, most importantly, his love for his immediate and extended Greek family.

His narrative encourages a nation to unite and work together as a team towards victory over this pandemic. “All victories begin with good defense.  Any coach in the world will tell you that. A player can be the best in the world, he can be the MVP of the championship, but he cannot do it alone. We must do it together. If one, just one does not play, we all lose. In my life, I’ve learned to look my opponent in the eyes.  But for the first time in my life, I’m facing an opponent who’s invisible. I can’t see him, but he’s there. That’s how I see the virus. Covid. Now, we must play defense. And yes, so what do I know? I am 25 years old. I am a basketball player. But what I do know is that the people we love is our court. Life is our court. And when in our court, we do what must be done and we win.  And in the end, we’re all MVPs.”

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The video made its debut through Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ Twitter and Instagram accounts, a few days before Christmas with the Prime Minister saying, “During the holidays we continue the crucial fight for our health.  It is time for life to take revenge. And the way for that is described by a Greek who knows about victories. I thank Giannis Antetokounmpo, for starring in the message, joining my voice with his words: “Together, ‘we play defense’ and we win our freedom again.”

The powerful message, by the most idolized Greek-born athlete of the world, provides hope and strength to push through one more restricted holiday during this pandemic and through the incoming year that is anticipated to be just the beginning of the end of Covid-19.

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