I’ve always been enthralled with Roald Dahl’s work. His work was salvation for precocious youngsters and opium addicts across the globe. Between the ages of six and 22, I’ve most of his heralded works: James Harden and the Giant Peach, Charlie Villanueva and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and the DeAndre Jordan Posterization, My Uncle Oswald Has Nothing On Dirk. You name it — I’ve read it.
Last Wednesday I got to see my favorite protagonist from Dahl’s work in action: Giannis Antetokounmpo. He’s nearly seven feet (bigger then advertised in the book, if you ask me), has the wingspan of an oversized aircraft and is 19. Some call him the Greek Freak, but I just call him my pal. Milwaukee was playing Chicago in front of a stirring crowd of 40 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. I knew I had to be there.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of Giannis, and just as he was in Roald Dahl’s 1982 novella, he wasn’t doing ordinary things.
A Taj Gibson 16-foot jumper wasn’t excitable enough for the big guy, so he played dice for a while.
Thoughts began floating in his head of Tweeting about rhombuses and other geometric shapes.
He slept on the world’s tiniest pillow, which rested atop Zaza Pachulia’s flexing bicep.
But despite all of the distractions, the BFG always found time to share some eye contact with his No. 1 fan.
I won’t remember the 13 points, 8 rebounds and plus/minus rating of +7 in his 27 minutes of playing time that night. But I’ll remember the happiness he brought 6-year-old and modern-day me. He gave me his shirt so I wouldn’t forget it.