Episode 76 with Mirin Fader, Heartfelt Chronicler, In-Depth Reporter, and Author of Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP, The New York Times Bestseller

31Aug

Episode Notes and Links for Episode 76 with 

Mirin Fader 

 

      In this episode, Pete speaks with award-winning journalist and author, Mirin Fader about her hoop-playing days and love for the game, her heartfelt and important articles about Tyler Skaggs and Gigi Bryant, and her deeply-researched and touching and honest book. They talk about Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP, the 2021 biography of an absolute gem of a human being, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his close-knit, loving, and beautiful family and the extreme poverty and racism that they have faced.

 

Buy Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP

 

Mirin Fader's Personal Website

 

“What Tyler Skaggs Left Behind” Article from The Ringer

 

LitHub Article: “Two Brothers, One Pair of Sneakers”-excerpt from Giannis

 

“The Legacy of Mambacita” from The Ringer about Gigi Bryant

To begin the episode, the two talk about the amazing circumstances that Mirin is currently in with her book on The New York Times bestseller list

 

At about 3:20, Mirin talks about writers like Wright Thompson, Jeff Pearlman, guest on Episode 33, Jackie McMullen, Jack McCollum, and John Feinstein who have inspired her throughout the years, from young basketball player to professional

 

At about 4:10, Mirin talks about her basketball career and her skills at this point of the pandemic

 

At about 5:35, Mirin discusses “ ‘Eureka’ ” moments in a “Women Writers Class” at Lewis and Clark College that put her on the track to professional writing 

 

At about 6:55, Mirin discusses the formative writers like Toni Morrison and Virginia Wolff from the college course who helped her feel okay about becoming 

 

At about 8:55, Pete asks Mirin about her touching piece for The Ringer on Gigi Bryant and how the structure added to the article’s pathos

 

At about 9:40, Mirin further explains the mechanisms of the article, her rationale on writing the article as she did, and some further information on Kobe and his connection to his daughters and Team Mamba 

 

At about 12:25, Mirin talks about her reporting for the Tyler Skaggs Bleacher Report story and about how she wanted to avoid any reductive stories regarding a beloved father, husband, friend, and son

 

At about 15:15, Pete and Mirin begin talking about Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP and the automatic love and admiration felt for Giannis after reading the book and how far back Mirin’s research goes

 

At about 17:15, Pete compliments Mirin and asks about the Prologue and the Epigraph and the rationale for starting the book in such a way

 

At about 18:15, Mirin details an opening story 

 

At about 19:00, Mirin gives some background on Giannis and his family and being without official documents and Greek citizenship

 

At about 20:00, Mirin and Pete discuss Victoria and Charles Antetokounmpo and the “hunger” of the family from its days in Sepolia, Athens, and the ways in which the family is so hardworking and close-knit and loving

 

At about 23:00, Mirin describes the painting that she references in the book as incredibly meaningful to the Antetokounmpo family 

 

At about 24:10, Pete asks Mirin how she squares the generosity and kindness shown to Giannis in his days in Greece with the virulent and ongoing racism shown to him by Golden Dawn and other Greeks

 

At about 27:15, Mirin and Pete discuss WI/American parallels to Greek racism that Mirin writes about so skillfully in the book

 

At about 28:00, Mirin talks about Giannis’ innocence and some stories of his fun-loving and childlike behavior, particularly revolving around food

 

At about 29:10: Pete and Mirin talk about Giannis’ wellspring of desire and hunger, how he consistently works as hard as someone trying to make their high school team, and these qualities in the context of the quote he and his brothers constantly repeat, “What if we all went to sleep and woke up and we were back to where we started?”

 

At about 30:00, Mirin puts Giannis’ work ethic and attitude in perspective, relative to his parents’ unselfishness

 

At about 32:15, Mirin sums up the lack of jealousy between the brothers and Pete notes how each family’s member’s story is rendered so beautifully by Mirin

 

At about 34:05, Mirin talks about her ongoing connection to Giannis through the book, and how he is impossible to root against

 

At about 36:10, Pete asks Mirin if she knows if Giannis and the Antetokounmpos have read the book  

 

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I’m excited to share my next episode with Danielle Morgan, professor at SCU (Go, Broncos!) and author of Laughing to Keep from Dying: African American Satire in the Twenty-First Century. We had a lot of fun. The episode airs on September 7.

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