Boston Celtics fans watching the 2021 NBA Finals probably don’t feel great knowing they could have had Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Before the Milwaukee Bucks superstar was selected No. 15 overall in the 2013, then-Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge traveled to Greece to scout the international prospect.
Perhaps what went down overseas had to do with why Boston didn’t go with the two-time league MVP. Apparently, Ainge was heckled by some Greek fans.
The Ringer’s Mirin Fader, in promoting her upcoming book titled, “Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP,” told a story she learned while researching for the biography.
“One of my favorite interviews was actually learning about the Celtics’ interest in Giannis and traveling to Greece,” Fader told A. Sherrod Blakely on the “A-List Podcast.” “… He came to a road game in a place called Volos. The fans were heckling him. They don?t know who he is at first. They think Danny Ainge is an opposing Greek (general manager).
“Then they find out he?s Danny Ainge, and then they start screaming insults and curses, and then they start screaming ‘Lakers,’ and then he realizes they?re making fun of him because they realize he?s Danny Ainge.”
As we know, the Celtics’ No. 13 pick ended up being Kelly Olynyk out of Gonzaga. Yeah, there was that playoff game against the Wizards, but Olynyk obviously never panned out to be like Antetokounmpo.