Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Called Amazing. Now in Sign Language, Too.

American Sign Language program alum Brice Christianson, signs during a post game interview with Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer.

New York Times photo by Lauren Justice

Mike Budenholzer, the coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, recently described Giannis Antetokounmpo as a “monster” at one of his postgame news conferences.

In that moment, as he stood a few feet from Budenholzer, Brice Christianson tried to work out in his head how to interpret that word for his audience watching live on social media. Christianson, a sign language interpreter, decided that using the word “monster” would have been too literal, so he signed for the word “explosive” instead.

Afterward, Christianson was second-guessing himself. Sports jargon can be tricky. He even consulted Christopher Rawlings, a friend and colleague who works as a sign language specialist for the state of Wisconsin. Rawlings, who is deaf, asked Christianson whether he had considered using the sign for “hot” or “on fire.”

It was all about getting to the essence of a simple truth, no matter the language.

“That Giannis is unstoppable,” Christianson said.

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