Dimitris Zamanis had his wish come true on Tuesday, when he was brought came face-to-face with his hero, Greek basketballer Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The 15-year-old who has been diagnosed with aplastic anemia, which occurs when the body stops producing enough red blood cells, has spent the past 12 months in hospital. Depleted of energy, he was unable to play his beloved sport and instead passed the time in hospital watching the NBA, namely Antetokounmpo.
The once in a lifetime meeting was made possible by Make-A-Wish Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Bucks, who flew Dimitris, his brother and mother Haroula from Trikala, Greece to the United States to meet the basketballer and see him play in person for the Bucks.
The teen couldn’t believe his luck when he kicked off the day getting shooting tips off the Greek Freak himself, and even had the chance to re-enact Giannis’ dunk over Tim Hardaway Jr. that went viral during a game last week.
“It’s definitely the best day of my life,” Dimitris said.
To follow, on Tuesday night the Zamanis family were treated to court-side seats for the Bucks’ game against Atlanta at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. But it didn’t stop there, with Antetokounmpo getting Dimitris involved by asking the teen to rebound for him during warm-ups.
“I was about to cry, because his dream came true,” Dimitris’ mother Haroula said.
“He loves and admires Giannis. I’m thrilled his wish came true. We had really hard and difficult times,” adding that it was a welcome break from the treatment since her son’s diagnosis.
Aside from the memories, Dimitris was also presented with a jersey and a duffel bag full of basketball gear to take home.
“It was a difficult year … it will be great remembering all this stuff,” said the youngster.
Antetokounmpo was a humble host, and thanked Dimitris and his family for travelling all the way to Milwaukee.
“He said he would take a picture of me from Make-A-Wish and put it next to his bed, so that was funny, I will definitely remember that,” he said.