The email that helped get Giannis drafted

  • Host of The Woj Pod
  • Joined ESPN in 2017

Editor’s note: “The Giannis Draft,” a three-episode series, is available on The Woj Pod. The 2020 NBA draft is Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

In the late night hours of Oct. 25, 2012, New Orleans Hornets international scout Yarone Arbel opened an email inside his Tel Aviv home to discover the sweetest siren of the scouting life: The suggestion of an undiscovered star. A Greek agent was pitching a buoyant 17-year-old Athenian point guard with long arms and a longer backstory, Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo.

“Nobody knows about him,” Georgios Dimitropoulos wrote Arbel.

Antetokounmpo had no citizenship and no passport as the son of Nigerian immigrants. He had no résumé with Greece’s national team program. The kid played in the second division, which barely registered as professional basketball.

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