Basil Zempilas has reportedly admitted to close friends that he’s relieved to hear Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t be competing at Tokyo 2020, still reeling from his inability to correctly pronounce the basketball star’s surname. Zempilas made global headlines last year when he stumbled on Antetokounmpo’s name while reading the news in Perth, and is secretly pleased the freshly-minted NBA Champion won’t be appearing in Tokyo.
A source close to Zempilas told The Watsonia Bugle, “Yeah, he was quite pleased really. At first, he didn’t say anything, but over a few beers last night he admitted he still has nightmares about that night reading the news. He also said the global attention on the stumble was overwhelming at the time.”
While the source also claimed that Zempilas has been practicing the difficult surname since last year’s error, they said Perth’s Lord Mayor was not ready to tackle it publicly. They said, “Do you guys even know how to pronounce it? Don’t throw stones from glass houses, mate. Basil is trying his best, and he’ll be ready soon, but not at the Olympics. That’s not the time for experimentation.”