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Giannis Antetokounmpo leaning into faith amid success, pastor says

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Posted at 4:50 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 18:29:19-04

MILWAUKEE — From being a virtual unknown to now the greatest scorer in Milwaukee Bucks history, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s unforeseen rise to the top of basketball has been rooted in his faith.

TMJ4 News sat down with Pastor Kenneth Lock for thirty minutes Friday afternoon before he met with Giannis. Lock said Giannis’ success runs parallel with his desire to stay rooted in faith.

On Thursday, Antetokounmpo became the Milwaukee Bucks’ all-time leading scorer with 14,216 points. The achievement is an electrifying milestone for Milwaukeeans who waited decades to see this new, golden age of the Milwaukee Bucks.

“It makes it more special because it feels like we’ve watched him grow up. He feels like Milwaukee’s little brother,” said Camille Davis of the TECKnical Foul Podcast.

  • WATCH: TMJ4 News also spoke with Frank Madden of SB Nation’s Brewhoop about Giannis’ rise:
    A conversation with Frank Madden about Giannis and the Bucks

“He’s just a good role model. We should all try to be like him,” said Bucks fan Tiffany Wogsland.

Bucks President Peter Feigin is happy as well

"It’s just another our city could own,” he said.

Behind Giannis’ nine-year-rise to NBA royalty was always his faith.

“For me, it was an ‘I told you' moment,” said Pastor Kenneth Lock of Evolve Church.

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Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo holds his son, Liam, next to his girlfriend, Mariah Riddlesprigger, during a parade for the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks basketball team Thursday, July 22, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

Lock has served as a pastor to Giannis since 2019. He said they often speak about humility, fatherhood, love and leadership.

“One of the biggest topics for him has always been about legacy. What he leaves for his life and sons, and the story that will be told,” Lock said.

Even with all the success, Lock said Giannis is leaning even further into his faith.

“He just told me, this is the year for him and his family, and he’s just been into his own personal goals as far as reading the word, as far as praying and coming to service,” Lock said.

No matter if it’s wins on the court or in life - staying rooted to humility continues to pay dividends, Lock says.

“I believe who you are off the court, really just displays itself once you're on the court,” he said.

After Thursday night’s game, Giannis is tied with LeBron James in the race for this year’s scoring title with 30.1 points per game.

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