Milwaukee Bucks superstar and 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has spoken to media today ahead of the NBA Paris Game 2020, which will see the Bucks take on the Charlotte Hornets at the AccorHotels Arena on January 24.

On being a symbol of the globalization of basketball

Giannis: “For sure, I think I’m one of the most global guys in the NBA, but there’s a lot of global people that play in the NBA or have played in the past. The NBA is doing a great job, all the games in London, now this game in Paris. Hopefully this is something that the NBA can do every year. Fans support us from around the globe, so this is a great initiative as it gets people closer to us.”

On the Bucks pre-game routine

Giannis: “This has been a really fun routine. Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez started it and it was so fun that I joined in. The whole team is enjoying it, it is something that we do before every game and whenever we do it, we get ourselves going and get ourselves ready for the game.”

On his visit to PSG and on his passion for football

Giannis: “I really like football, I used to support Arsenal when I was a kid. My dad used to play football. I played football from when I was nine until twelve and then I started to play basketball. Whenever I play FIFA, I always play with PSG [Paris Saint Germain]. I’m a big fan of Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he used to play here for PSG. I had the opportunity five years ago to go to the Chelsea stadium and when they told us that we were going to go to the PSG stadium I was like ‘I’m going’. Hopefully, we’ll have the chance to meet some of the players, Neymar, Mbappe… but we had fun. We went to the locker rooms, we were able to kick some balls. The whole experience was fun and we got some jerseys too, so that was nice.”

On the NBA Africa League…

Giannis: “I didn’t know much about it – it’s amazing! I heard about it earlier in the season and being able to watch games in Africa is amazing. We were able to play in the NBA Africa Game in 2015 and the people in Africa love basketball – there’s so much talent in Africa. I’ve spoken with Masai [Ujiri] and he’s going to do some big things – I’m sure he’s part of this league so I’m really excited to find out more things about it and hopefully we can play a regular season game in Africa as well.”

On the adjustment needed to play a regular season game in another country…

Giannis: “The adjustment’s been smooth. Everybody’s been a bit jet lagged and it’s tricky to sleep at night but the team have done a great job in helping us get the right amount of rest. We took the day off yesterday so we can recover. I managed to walk round the city a little bit and people recognised me out there which is all part of the experience. I love being here. I was able to come and enjoy Paris two or three years ago when I came with my girlfriend. I was able to walk around everywhere and nobody recognised me back then! I went to the Eiffel Tower which was fun. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to go out and do that by myself again but walking through Paris and enjoying all the culture is amazing. Paris has such a different vibe – I love it.”

On Zion Williamson’s debut and any advice he would give him…

Giannis: “Yes I know he had his debut yesterday. I wasn’t able to watch it as it was late here but when I woke up I watched the highlights and I saw he had 17 in the fourth which is amazing. I’m really excited for him. I’m really happy that he was able to get back out there and make his debut. Obviously he’s a tough kid and the only advice I would give to him is to have patience, work hard and make sure you’re healthy. I saw some highlights and he had some problems with his knee – don’t rush! Don’t rush the process. He’s going to be a beast, the whole league knows you’re going to be a beast. Just take it step by step day by day and be healthy and when you come back help your team win and dominate the league.”

On taking more three pointers…

Giannis: “I don’t know if it’s going to be more. Hopefully if I make a lot it’s going to be more but I’m just happy that I’m comfortable with it. I’m excited by it – I love shooting threes! It definitely helps my game and it opens up the floor for me and as long as I’m comfortable I’ll probably shoot more.”

On how to treat a regular season game in another country…

Giannis: “I was talking to my brother about that because usually when I’m in Paris it’s off-season, it’s vacation and this vibe, media and excitement, it almost feels like an All-Star break but at the end of the day we’ve got a job to do which is win the game and try and stay healthy and look after my body and once I get back to the hotel, I’ll be focused and ready for the game.”