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Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek Freak

 

The ‘Greek Freak’, due to his absolutely amazing and astounding combination of size, speed, ball-handling ability and of course, Greek nationality, the name fits a description for Antetokounmpo, who is actually of Nigerian descent.


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He is a Nigerian-Greek professional basketball player who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

It is usually surprising to so many that He is referred to as a Greek more often, than a Nigerian. He is Greek because He was born in Greece, though He couldn’t attain Greek citizenship immediately, due to the fact that the Greeks operated a Jus Sanguinis principle (citizenship by blood) rather than by the Jus Soli principle (Citizenship by soil).

Therefore, his citizenship was formalised as a result of years spent, though both his parents were Nigerians; his Father being of Yoruba descent and his mother, an Igbo native.

Background

Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo was born on December 6th, 1994. Born in Greece to immigrant Nigerian parents, who migrated from Lagos to Greece a few years before He was born. Antetokounmpo began playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens. In 2011, he began playing for the club’s senior team before entering the 2013 NBA draft, where he was selected 15th overall by the Bucks.

Did You Know These NBA Facts About Antetokounmpo?

Below are some amazing statistical facts about Antetokounmpo:

  • In 2016–17 he led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories and became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in all five statistics of total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
  • He received the Most Improved Player award in 2017.
  • Antetokounmpo has received five All-Star selections, including being selected as an All-Star captain in 2019 and 2020, as he led the Eastern Conference in voting in these two years.
  • Antetokounmpo won back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in 2019 and 2020, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to win two MVPs before turning 26.
  • Along with his MVP award, he was also named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, becoming only the third player after Michael Jordan (1988) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1994) to win both awards in the same season.
  • Antetokounmpo is often recognised as one of the best all-around players in the NBA, and many analysts have declared him “positionless” and as embodying the future of the league.
  • In 2021, he won the NBA Championship with Milwaukee Bucks and also the finals MVP award.


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Other Interesting Facts To Know About Antetokounmpo:

In addition to the earlier stated facts, the following are some interesting facts about Antetokounmpo’s life.

  • Although Antetokounmpo and three of his four brothers were born in Greece, they did not automatically receive full Greek citizenship as Greek nationality law follows jus sanguinis.
  • For the first 18 years of his life, Antetokounmpo was effectively stateless, having no papers from Nigeria or Greece.
  • After gaining Greek citizenship in 2013, his family Hellenized their surname from Adetokunbo to Antetokounmpo to more closely follow Greek spelling rules.
  • Antetokounmpo grew up in the Athens neighbourhood of Sepolia.
  • His parents, as immigrants, could not easily find work, so Giannis and his older brother, Thanasis, helped by hawking watches, handbags and sunglasses in the streets.
  • When he officially gained Greek citizenship on May 9, 2013, his name was officially romanized as Giannis Antetokounmpo.
  • In 2007, Antetokounmpo started playing basketball.

Sources:

NBA

ESPN

Featured Image Source: Sky Sports


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Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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