The NBA Milwaukee bucks point forward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the Greek freak, has in fact dispelled the popular opinion that he is Greek. In an interview with Marc J spears, Giannis revealed that he is deeply rooted in his Nigerian culture.
Giannis, this year has been tremendous for the bucks. He is currently the front runner up for the Most valuable player (MVP) title, contending with names like Steph Curry and James Harden. He is currently leading the eastern conference in all-star fan votes, and according to sport’s analysts Max Kellerman, Giannis is the favorite to win the MVP title this season, and if he does, he will become the second Nigerian ever to win the title, after Hakeem the dream Olajuwon 1994/1995 MVP win.
The 24-year-old prospect stated that he cannot wait to learn more about his roots. In the interview he stated;
“Obviously, a lot of people don’t know where I’m from. A lot of people think my mom or my dad are from Greece, but no. Both of my parents are black. Both of my parents are Nigerian.”
Giannis was born in Greece three years after his parents moved there from the city of Lagos in 1991. Charles and Veronica Adetokunbo moved to Greece following the unemployment struggles they faced in Lagos. In search of a better life they decided to settle in Greece, leaving behind their first son, Francis in Lagos, to be raised by his grandparents. They then had four more boys all born in Greece, including Giannis who was born on December 6, 1994. Owing to a passport error, which spelled Adetokunbo as Antetokounmpo, Giannis has long been believed by the basketball community to be Greek and thus the misconception of his origins. But in the interview, he dispelled the confusion.
“I grew up in a Nigerian home,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, I was born in Greece and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when I go home, there is no Greek culture. It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals.”
Giannis has an interesting background as his mother Veronica hails from the Igbo tribe, while his father Charles is Yoruba.
“I can understand it a little bit. I can count. It’s not like I’m fluent,” Antetokounmpo said of Igbo. “It’s not like I can go back home to Nigeria and they can understand what I am saying. It’s kind of funny.
“Both my parents are from Nigeria. But Nigeria is like 250 dialects, so my mom and my dad don’t speak the same language.”
I believe it is commendable that the MVP candidate opted to use his platform to give some insight on the Nigerian society. Even Olajuwon stated that the Nigerian people would be proud of him.
“I’m sure Nigerians are very proud of him, especially because of the way he has conducted himself and how he is dominating the league. He has accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time.”
Olajuwon is right. Basketball fans in the country sure are rooting for Giannis to win the MVP title and potentially lead his team to a playoffs title.