Giannis Antetokounmpo was the subject of Final Jeopardy on April 26, but the Bucks superfan contestant wasn’t around to answer

Ken Jennings hosts “Jeopardy!”, which employed a Milwaukee Bucks reference on the April 26 Final Jeopardy.

Milwaukee Bucks fans were surely shouting “Greece!” at their televisions Tuesday evening when Final Jeopardy rolled around. Backstage, so was contestant Nicky Smith, a Milwaukee native and massive Bucks fan who happened to miss out on what would have been a tailor-made opportunity.

“Jeopardy!” brought an NBA flair to its final question, and Bucks franchise star Giannis Antetokounmpo was at the center of the popular game show’s closer, introduced with the category “African Surnames.”

Final Jeopardy asks about Adetokunbo family leaving Nigeria for this country

The answer read, “Adetokunbo, ‘the crown has returned from overseas,’ is fitting for the Adetokunbo family who left Nigeria for this country in 1991.”

As host Ken Jennings indicated, it was a “sports clue in disguise.”

We all know the story of how the family moved to Greece, where Giannis was born in 1994. Today, of course, he’s the franchise cornerstone who led the Bucks to the 2021 NBA championship, with the opportunity for another unfolding as the playoffs continue.

More: Four interesting revelations from New York Times article about the ‘Greece that shunned’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Giannis Antetokounmpo superfan Nicky Smith wasn’t around for Final Jeopardy

Only one of the contestants knew the reference, though only two of the three played Final Jeopardy, with Smith kept from the final round on account of a negative score following the first two rounds of play (-$800).

That was a pretty significant bummer for Smith, who happens to be a graduate of Marquette University High School, a massive Giannis fan and even briefly spent some time as a ball boy with the organization. Smith, who uses the pronoun they, now lives in San Francisco, where they moved to complete PhD work, and their mother still lives in Cedarburg.

“My sibling and our collective partners hate Giannis because, ‘It’s all you talk about, why don’t you marry Giannis?’ Smith said in a post-show moment of levity before looking straight at the camera. “Giannis, I’m sorry. Please, you can put this on YouTube. I love you Giannis, stay with Milwaukee forever. You are our king.”

Smith said the speech was trimmed pretty much and part of “literally Giannis facts for three minutes” that they recited to everyone on set.

Jennings joked, “The one day a stalker of his was on the show…we didn’t get to see you show off.”

Smith, 35, has attended a number of Bucks-Warriors games and was even wearing Giannis Greek Freak Zoom 1s during taping. Apparently, contestants were told nobody could see their feet at the podium, so Smith felt at liberty to support No. 34.

Smith just wasn’t around for the show’s Giannis moment.

“My only strategy was to be around for Final Jeopardy,” Smith said, adding that the circumstance brought to mind a paraphrased quote he’d read by Mike Tyson. “Everybody’s got a strategy until you get hit in the face.”

Mattea Roach guesses wrong answer, but won ‘Jeopardy!’ for the 16th time

Defending champion Mattea Roach, who went into the final question with a commanding lead, didn’t know the answer (she guessed United Kingdom), but she easily won the night for her 16th straight victory.

Backstage, Smith lamented the wild unluckyness of a Giannis question being featured on Final Jeopardy, though they figured they’d have written “Giannis Antetokounmpo” instead of “Greece” in the moment of delight.

Cultural strategist Reya Sehgal answers Final Jeopardy question correct

Brooklyn cultural strategist and performer Reya Sehgal did know the answer, doubling her $5,000 with a wager of $4,900. But her $9,900 was still well shy of Roach’s final total of $16,200.

Milwaukee native Nicky Smith, right, poses with "Jeopardy!"  host Ken Jennings, with Smith sporting Zoom Freak 1's, the signature shoe of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.  Smith taped his episode of the show on Valentine's Day, and it aired April 26.

Milwaukee native Nicky Smith, right, poses with “Jeopardy!” host Ken Jennings, with Smith sporting Zoom Freak 1’s, the signature shoe of Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Smith taped his episode of the show on Valentine’s Day, and it aired April 26.

Antetokounmpo achieved Greek citizenship in 2013, mere days before departing for the United States in advance of the NBA draft. His passport transliterated the name Adetokumbo into the spelling used stateside, Antetokounmpo.

Roach will get to keep her crown, and Giannis now looks to add another with Game 5 of his first-round playoff series against Chicago on Wednesday.

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or jradcliffe@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Final Jeopardy African Surnames features Giannis Antetokounmpo family

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