Giannis Antetokounmpo was honored as the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday, capping a season in which "The Greek Freak" anchored the league's No. 1 defense with 13.6 rebounds, one block and one steal in 30.4 minutes per game.
Antetokounmpo was presented the honor on the "NBA on TNT" pregame show and — much like Nick Nurse winning NBA Coach of the Year — the crew decided to make it a special occasion. In that endeavor, Shaquille O'Neal attempted to congratulate him for the honor in Greek. Who better than "The Big Aristotle," after all?
Unfortunately for Shaq, his attempt merely confused the four-time All-Star.
The look on Antetokounmpo's face says it all, and the situation is only made funnier by the crew ragging on Shaq even as he attempted to congratulate him again.
Antetokounmpo, of course, was gracious in his acceptance of the honor — even if all Shaq got right was the "congratulations" part.
But there's a happy ending: Charles Barkley, perhaps attempting to pile on Shaq further, said he would donate $10,000 to Antetokounmpo's charity if Shaq could correctly pronounce his name — and he nailed it:
Charles Barkley says he would give $10k to Giannis’ charity if Shaq could pronounce his name correct...... and he did! pic.twitter.com/0aDzAUsDNg— Abdul Memon (@abdulamemon) August 25, 2020
Like Shaq said, he had to get it right for the new NBA Defensive Player of the Year.