Euaggelos Papadimitriou/ [email protected]
Taking a break from the individual training program at the Eurohoops Dome, Giorgos Kalaitsakis spoke to Eurohoops about his desire to stay in the NBA and talked about some of the highlights of his career. Actually getting into the NBA and being the last pick in the 2021 draft is a different story.
Kalaitsakis, 23, trains at the state-of-the-art Eurohoops Dome under the guidance of Lefteris Kalogirou, Head of Development at the Eurohoops Academy. Stay in shape and aim for another NBA contract after signing 13 games played between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2021-22.
“It was my childhood dream, the biggest. I put in the effort and did it. However, I haven’t done anything yet. I’m 40% or 50%” he began the interview with a story about the creation of the NBA and described the current level of his achievements, “I have to get better and keep chasing him. I want to be a good NBA player.”
The Greek forward was drafted by the Indiana Pacers and traded to the Bucks on draft night. Keep in mind that it was quite late in Greece.
“I knew I would end up with the Bucks. he remembered and talked about how he spent the evening of July 29, 2021, “During the draft, I got up and went to the bathroom, saw that I was not selected in the first round, and went back to bed. Finally, my father woke me up to tell me about my choice.”
He was already in contact with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Having led the Bucks to the 2021 NBA championship, Greek Freak had to prepare him for a game in Milwaukee. From there, Kalaitsakis became his new admirer.
“I’ve never seen a player like him.” Kalaitsakis told Eurohoops, “Everyone talks about how hard he works, but they can’t really grasp reality until they’ve lived it for themselves. Everyone is talking about Kobe [Mamba] mentality, but by the time Giannis retires, there will be a Giannis mentality. He works harder than everyone else, and also more serious.”
In his NBA debut, the Bucks faced the Brooklyn Nets. His childhood idol Kevin Durant was the opposite end.
“I will never forget this day” he explained “We played in Brooklyn and because I grew up watching [Kevin] Duran, he made me decide to play basketball. I remember warming up and he moving around. During the game, every moment flashed before my eyes. That night, my family was waiting for me at home, and I shared my experience and almost cried. I didn’t sleep at all that night.”
The transition to Bucks teammate Jrue Holiday is another unique experience for Kalaitsaki.
“[Jrue] Holiday lent me his Lamborghini for 250,000.” he said, “We were in the parking lot. I love cars very much and he gave me the keys. He said, “It’s yours.” I went for a walk. He just gave me a car. Even if I caused some damage, I don’t think he would ask me to pay for it.”
After leaving Aris, Kalaitsakis turned pro with Panathinaikos and reached the NBA playing for the Greens until the 2020–21 season. In 2019-2020, it was leased to the Lithuanian store Nevezis.