Antetokounmpo said Khris Middleton, who is in the photo's background, thanked him for also putting him on the cover.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
April 03, 2019

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had no idea he was on the cover of this week's issue of Sports Illustrated until teammate Khris Middleton told him on Wednesday morning.

In the regional cover for the April 8 edition of the magazine, Antetokounmpo is seen soaring over members of the San Antonio Spurs. Middleton, who appears in the photo's background, thanked Antetokounmpo for helping him also appear on the cover.

"I haven’t read the article," Antetokounmpo said at practice in New York. "I just found out from Khris. Khris told me. He’s in the background. He walked in and he said, ‘Thank you for putting me on the Sports Illustrated cover.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ and he said, ‘You’re on the cover.’ I was like, ‘OK, good to know. I didn’t know that.’ I just woke up, got my stuff, went to practice. He was happy he was in the background. I was like, ‘Yeah, I got you, bro.’”

Middleton also said he would be hanging a copy of the magazine in his own house.

This week's cover is part of a story by Chris Ballard titled "How to Coach a Unicorn," a piece that dives into Mike Budenholzer's methods of coaching Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Antetokounmpo has now been on the cover twice, the first time for a Lee Jekins story that appeared in January 2017.

A front-runner for the NBA's 2019 Most Valuable Player award, Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.4 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists through 70 games this season.

The Bucks are 58–20 and sit atop the Eastern Conference standings.

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