(Reuters) – There is only one “Greek Freak” but there are two Antetokounmpo brothers in Milwaukee, who started together for the first time in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Friday.
Giannis, also known as the Greek Freak, is the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, spearheading the league-leading Bucks with his otherworldly skills.
Older brother Thanasis has not had quite the same impact, a role player who spends more time warming the bench than on the court.
Before Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, the brothers had spent an entire nine seconds on court together.
But on what the Bucks promoted as Greek Night, head coach Mike Budenholzer gave Thanasis the nod to start, the 15th game this season he has seen action.
“For he and Giannis to start an NBA game together was something I thought was unique and special,” Budenholzer told reporters.
Thanasis quickly resumed his more accustomed position on the bench however, playing just five minutes, during which he scored four points.
Giannis, meanwhile, scored a game-high 31 points while pulling in 16 rebounds. He also had nine assists, falling narrowly short of a triple-double.
Alas, the night did not have a happy ending for the Bucks, their nine-game winning streak ending as they fell to the Nuggets 127-115.
Milwaukee still has the league’s best record, however, 41-7.
More worryingly than the loss, Giannis left the game late with what appeared to be a leg injury after falling awkwardly, though Budenholzer was optimistic it was not nothing serious.
“I don’t think it’s anything significant,” he told reporters.
Thanasis, 27, was the 51st overall pick by the New York Knicks in the 2014 draft, but played just two games for the franchise.
He spent the past two seasons with Greek team Panathinaikos before being signed by the Bucks last summer.
Giannis, 25, was drafted the 15th overall picks by the Bucks in 2013, and has played his entire career for the Wisconsin team.
The brothers were born in Athens of Nigerian parents.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)