Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Pride of Greece

Published September 30th, 2021 - 10:39 GMT
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo: AFP)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo: AFP)
Giannis Antetokounmpo won the 2021 MVP award

Giannis Antetokounmpo took the NBA by storm since 2016 eventually leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their long-awaited title in 2021.

The Bucks won their second NBA championship and their first since 1971 finals after defeating the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6.

The Greek star was named the finals' Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Giannis Antetokounmpo 's beginnings

He was born in Athens on December 6, 1994. The son of Nigerian immigrants.

He left Greece three years later and moved back to Lagos with his parents without receiving Greek citizenship, and for the next 18 years was stateless.

He was eventually issued the citizenship on May 9, 2013, just weeks ahead of the  2013 NBA Draft.

Due to difficulties in pronouncing his surname, he became known as the "Greek Freak".

Move to Milwaukee

Following a spell with Filathlitikos between 2011 and 2013, the rising star was eligible for the 2013 NBA Draft.

CAI Zaragoza contracted him in a 4-year-deal, but he never represented them.

On July 30, 2013, he signed with the Bucks (rookie scale contract).

He made his NBA debut on October 13, 2013, at the age of 18 years, 311 days.

Antetokounmpo breakout season was his fourth, having signed a four-year, $100 million contract extension with Milwaukee on September 19, 2016.

In the 2016-17 season, he averaged 22.9 points per game, 8.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.9 blocks in 80 games, he won NBA's Most Improved Player Award.

On 19 February 2017, Giannis became the sole player from Bucks to be selected as an All-Star squad member after Michael Redd, and the only Greek NBA All-Star player to start an All-Star game.

Giannis leads Milwaukee to glory

He managed to lead the Bucks to their second ever NBA championship title.

The Greek star averaged 30.2 points per game, 12.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 21 games during the 2021 finals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates after defeating the Phoenix Suns in Game Six to win the 2021 NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum on July 20, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (AFP)

National team career

Giannis represented Greece's senior men's team for the first time in 2014.

He played 49 games and has scored a total of 573 points, with a scoring average of 11.7 points per game.

He won the Euroscar European Player of the Year in 2018.

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