Messitte article notes popularity in Italy of apparel featuring Bucks superstar
“Europeans love Giannis as much as we do,” an article written by President Zach Messitte, appeared in the online version of Milwaukee Magazine July 19. Messitte has been on sabbatical in Italy as he is researching a book about Americans playing basketball in Italy.
In the article, he writes about how apparel featuring the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the team is extremely popular in Italy. “What Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates wear on the court has become a fashion statement even an ocean away from Milwaukee, as the Bucks’ Greek-born basketball phenom has become — along with LeBron James — the global face of the world’s No. 2 sport (behind soccer),” Messitte writes.
“An Italian woman has picked out a black Bucks warm-up with green trim and will drop 110 euros on merchandise from a team that plays 4,500 miles away in a city that she has never visited. Success on the court has helped raise the Bucks’ profile, but for many here, it’s all about their charismatic superstar. ‘It is a present for my son,’ she says. ‘He loves Giannis.’”
Messitte adds, “Americans playing professional basketball abroad have noticed the Giannis effect, too. Now in his sixth year of pro ball in Italy, Fond du Lac native Travis Diener has had an up-close view of his home state’s rising profile in Europe. ‘Giannis is everywhere in Italy,’ says Diener, who played with Marquette and three teams in the NBA before taking his game to Italy. ‘A lot of people over here still associate Wisconsin with ‘Happy Days.’ But Giannis is putting the state on the map.’”