LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — I should have called Katie George.

If anybody knows precisely how to pronounce the first and last names of Milwaukee Bucks’ super duper star Giannis Antetokounmpo, it’s Katie. She worked as a sideline reporter with the Bucks during the 2018-19 season after leaving WDRB.

She knows Giannis, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez. She also knows how to say all of their names, especially the Bucks’ signature player.

Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It’s yaa nus. Aan tuh tuh koom pow.

I know that. Honest, I do.

But saying it? I confess: I need to take it up a notch.

On Wednesday night, I learned three things:

I need to practice, practice, practice saying Antetokounmpo’s name.

Big Brother really is watching.

And, ABC late-night star Jimmy Kimmel is a big, big, big fan of the Sport Page segments that Eric Crawford and I deliver for WDRB News.

At 8:23 Wednesday evening, my daughter Maggie texted me with the message, “Did you know that you were on Jimmy Kimmel?”

Considering I have not visited Los Angeles since the 2003 Breeders’ Cup, that was stunning news to me. I haven’t been a late-night talk show regular viewer since Johnny Carson turned off his microphone. Or maybe it was Jack Paar.

So, I told my daughter I was not aware of my Kimmel appearance. I hate to be vain, but how did I look?

I wondered why she was talking about Kimmel at 8:23, considering his show would not air for three hours.

She said Kimmel had aired prior to tip-off for Game Four of the NBA Finals between Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns and Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. One of her friends watched Kimmel.

Comedy is part of his gig. Kimmel had a bit highlighting media folks trying — and flailing — while trying to pronounce Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name. It happens. That’s why most people stick to his nickname, The Greek Freak.

It’s yaa nus. Aan tuh tuh koom pow.


Last week, before the start of the Finals, Crawford and I discussed the NBA on our SportsPage. Although our focus was on the appearance of Booker, the former Kentucky star, for Phoenix, and Jordan Nwora, the former University of Louisville forward, for the Bucks, I got bold and threw a Greek Freak reference late in our segment.

I knew I had not nailed it. But I thought I was close.

I remember Corey Schroeder, one of our production assistants, telling me that I’d given it a good shot. Eric said he remembered saying that he was impressed that I had at least given it a try

Don’t be impressed, EC.

Sources say I went 0-for-2. Sounded more like John-us Ante-tata-come-po.

My sincere apologies to Giannis. I know better. I grew up in Lake County, Indiana, an ethnic melting pot.

I learned how to pronounce names like Mirko Blesich, Drago Trifunovich, Sava Vrtikapa, Alex Kountoures, Stan Perzanowski, Ted Kluszewski, Alexander Vraciu and Pete Trgovich.

My Dad always reminded me that Hollywood actor Mladen Sekulovich went to our Serbian Church before he changed his name to Karl Malden and became a legit star.

Because, you know, Mladen Sekulovich rolled off the tongue like Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In case you missed it, Karl Malden worked the name Sekulovich into his movies every time he could, as he did when he portrayed Gen. Omar Bradley in the movie, “Patton.”

Back to the business at hand. On Wednesday, I discovered the big-time shows in Hollywood subscribe to services that do something called “scraping” the content of local TV shows, looking for people saying the strangest things.

Kimmel’s people had a great scrape — and I came up bloodied, one of 14 media folks who did not pronounce Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name the way it is supposed to be pronounced.

It’s yaa nus. Aan tuh tuh koom pow.

Sorry, Giannis.

Next time, I’ll check with Katie George

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