That time Danny Ainge was heckled while scouting Giannis for C's


Giannis Antetokounmpo could be a member of the Boston Celtics right now.

The Bucks star and potential NBA Finals MVP was on the board when the Celtics picked 13th in the 2013 NBA Draft, but the C's went with Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, while Antetokounmpo fell to Milwaukee at No. 15.

Antetokounmpo was raw and a bit unknown coming out of Greece, and Boston was among many teams who deemed him too much of a risk. The Celtics did have interest in the Greek Freak, though -- enough that they sent then-president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to Greece to scout the intriguing forward.

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Bleacher Report's Mirin Fader, whose book on Antetokounmpo titled, "Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP," comes out next month, recently shared a great story about Ainge's interesting experience scouting Giannis.

"One of my favorite interviews was actually learning about the Celtics’ interest in Giannis and traveling to Greece," Fader told host A. Sherrod Blakely on the "A-List Podcast."

" ... He came to a road game in a place called Volos. The fans were heckling him. They don’t know who he is at first. They think Danny Ainge is an opposing Greek (general manager).

"Then they find out he’s Danny Ainge, and then they start screaming insults and curses, and then they start screaming ‘Lakers,’ and then he realizes they’re making fun of him because they realize he’s Danny Ainge."


NBA GMs can never escape the spotlight -- especially Ainge, who was one of the league's most prominent executives for a storied franchise before retiring this year.

When will Ainge land next NBA job? Ex-GM addresses rumors

Ainge probably has been subject to heckling for drafting Olynyk over an eventual two-time NBA MVP, but his son Austin Ainge, who's the Celtics' director of player personnel, offered a defense of his dad to Fader.

"Austin Ainge told me, ‘Look if we had known Giannis would grow like two inches once he got to the NBA, obviously this would be a different story. He would not have fallen where he had fallen to (in the draft),' " Fader said.

Ainge doesn't have to worry about those problems anymore, though: It's new Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens' turn to get heckled in foreign countries.