Giannis, it’s been a great year for you, validating a big salary bump with superstar play. You’ve been doing it all for your team, putting together elements of frontcourt and backcourt play like an alchemist synthesizing gold. And so the perfect book for you is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is a tale of a young boy on an international adventure, from humble to suddenly magical and grand. Sounds a little bit like your life story.
It wasn’t that long ago you were living in Greece working as a street merchant. Your rise was swift and now you’re a 6-11 PG being coached by one of the great NBA wizards, scoring 30 in an All-Star Game. In The Alchemist, a boy named Santiago experiences such a journey. He goes from being a shepherd in Andalusia to a treasure hunter underneath the pyramids of Egypt. Santiago is on a quest to develop his personal legend, as are you. To complete this journey, he must look within and face what may seem like insurmountable odds. Giannis, wherever this season takes you, if you are able to carry Milwaukee deep into the playoffs, the best you can hope for is a chance to compete against the mighty king LeBron who has owned the Eastern Conference’s NBA Finals spot since 2011. Santiago faced a similar challenge. There is much for you to learn, and by reading Coelho’s novel, you may find the inspiration you need.
Sam Rubenstein is a SLAM contributing writer and a high school English teacher in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @SamRubenstein.