Giannis Antetokounmpo Biography

(Greek-Nigerian Professional Basketball Player Who Plays As a Power Forward)

Birthday: December 6, 1994 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Athens, Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo, nicknamed the Greek Freak, is a Greek basketball player. He is best known for his association with the NBA basketball team, Milwaukee Bucks. He started his professional career by signing up to play for the junior squad of the Filathlitikos B.C., a Greek professional basketball club. Soon after, he became a member of Filathlitikos’s senior squad. Antetokounmpo excelled in all departments of the sport, including rebounds, assists, and blocks. His unusual and extraordinary sporting skills attracted the attention of topnotch clubs in Europe. CAI Zaragoza, a Spanish club, contracted him for four years at €400,000 per year. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo did not get the opportunity to play for Zaragoza as he was picked up by Milwaukee Bucks as a preliminary draft just when he would have taken the field for the Spanish squad. Since his contract with Zaragoza incorporated a default escape condition, he qualified to play for Milwaukee Bucks. He was the integral playmaker for Milwaukee Bucks in his third year with the NBA team. In the following year, he was named Milwaukee Bucks’ star player.

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Quick Facts

Nick Name: Greek Freak

Also Known As: Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo, Adetokunbo

Age: 27 Years, 27 Year Old Males

Family:

father: Charles Antetokounmpo

mother: Veronica Antetokounmpo

siblings: Alexis Antetokounmpo, Francis Antetokounmpo, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Born Country: Greece

Basketball Players Greek Men

Height: 6'11" (211 cm), 6'11" Males

Ancestry: Nigerian American, Greek American

Grouping of People: Black Basketball Players

City: Athens, Greece

Childhood & Early Life

Giannis Antetokounmpo was born on December 6, 1994, in Athens, Greece. His parents had immigrated into the country from Nigeria in 1991. Before migrating, his parents entrusted their eldest child, Francis, under the care of his grandparents.

Giannis has one more brother elder to him, Thanasis, and two younger brothers, Kostas and Alex. Giannis Antetokounmpo and three of his brothers did not qualify for receiving Greek citizenship, their birth in Greece notwithstanding. In fact, even after turning eighteen, he remained a stateless person as he neither had Greek nor Nigerian citizenship.

He remembers his parents struggling very hard to make ends meet and support a family of eight. On most days, he and his older brother Thanasis would report for practice on a near empty stomach, in a field close to the modest neighborhood of Sepolia where the family lived.

A club instructor recalls a 13-year old Giannis and his brother playing with a football and was not very interested in dribbling with a basketball. The brothers could not socialize freely with other children in their neighborhood and locals as they spent their growing up years, constantly living in fear of being deported by the police.

Spiros Velliniatis, the club coach who mentored other children in the Sepolia locality, realized that although Giannis was not good at basketball, he had the mental toughness and determination to excel in the sport. Antetokounmpo admitted in an interview that the real credit for his success and rise to stardom should go to Velliniatis.

The then Filathlitikos coach, Panagiotis Zivach, recollects luring the brothers to present themselves for regular basketball training sessions by promising that he’d find employment for their parents. A restaurateur, Giannis Tzikas, who was their neighbor, chipped in by preparing sandwiches for the youngsters so that they could practice on a full stomach.

Giannis and Thanasis began practicing basketball from 2007, onwards after Zivas, the general manager of Filathlitikos, assisted their parents in finding jobs. He also helped the brothers financially so that they could fulfill their commitments to the basketball club.

Later on, the family shifted to a locality close to Filathlitikos that made it very convenient for Giannis to train consistently. After practicing for two years, Giannis Antetokounmpo was selected as a member of Filathlitikos’s youth team in 2009, which marked the onset of his professional career.

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Early Professional Career

Giannis Antetokounmpo represented the youth team of Filathlitikos for three years, from 2009 to 2012. He excelled in every quarter of the game and helped his side win numerous fixtures. In one game, he notched up 50 points which caught the eye of several managers of eminent basketball clubs in Europe.

Giannis Antetokounmpo became a member of Filathlitikos’s senior squad in 2012, representing the club in the Greek A2 Basket League for the 2012-13 season. In the same year in December, CAI Zaragoza, a Spanish club entered into a four-year contract with him that included a NBA buyout stipulation for each season.

His contract with CAI Zaragoza was due to start in the 2013-14 season. During the 2012-13 Greek A2 League playoffs, he maintained an average of 9.5 points in at least 26 games with 1.0 block, 1.4 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in every game.

He qualified as a singular participant for the Greek League All-Star Game in 2013.

Becoming the Star Player of Milwaukee Bucks

On 28 April 2013, Giannis qualified for the NBA drafting for the 2013-14 season. He was selected in the very first round of the draft, ranking 15th overall amongst all eligible draftees of Milwaukee Bucks. He was signed up as a new recruit for the Bucks on 13 July 2013.

He took the field in 77 matches for Milwaukee Bucks in 2013-14 and maintaining an average of 6.8 points throughout the season. He was the top ranking NBA rookie for the season, finishing the year with 61 blocks that made him eligible for the NBA All-Star Weekend Rising Stars Challenge held at New Orleans.

His impressive performance at the Rising Stars Challenge playoff earned him a position in the second team of the NBA All-Rookie lineup, where each squad has five players. Additionally, Milwaukee Bucks extended their contract with Antetokounmpo for two more seasons, 2014-15 and 2015-16. His average peaked at 27 points in his second year as a rookie.

On February 9, 2015, he earned his first player of the week honor and was adjudged the Eastern Conference Player for his stellar performance in fixtures from 2nd to 8th Feb 2015. That year, he participated in NBA All Star Weekend’s Slam Dunk Contest organized in New York.       

During the 2014-15 Season, Giannis Antetokounmpo achieved an average of 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds from 81 appearances, missing only one game. The Bucks who were ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference playoffs during Giannis’ second year with the club, lost their first round elimination match to Chicago Bulls.

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His pact with Milwaukee Bucks was again carried forward for the 2016-17 Season. He started his 2015-16 campaign on a good note, bettering his scorings of past two seasons, upholding a consistent average of 16 points for every game for the first 20 fixtures.

On February 22, 2016, for the first time in his career, he notched up double figures, scoring 10 assists, 12 rebounds, and 27 points during the tie with Los Angeles Lakers which Milwaukee Bucks won 108-101. At the age of 21, he also created a record by becoming the youngest Bucks team member to score a triple double.

On March 13, 2016, he became the first player in Milwaukee Bucks’ history to earn four triple doubles in one season with the fourth triple double coming in the game against Brooklyn Nets. He notched up a fifth triple double on April 1, 2016, in the game against Orlando Magic which Milwaukee Bucks won, 113-110.

Giannis Antetokounmpo inked a four-year extended contract with Milwaukee Bucks worth $100 million on September 19, 2016. In the opening game against Charlotte Hornets on October 26 which Bucks lost, he scored 31 points, a career achievement for him. His sixth triple double was recorded during the match against Orlando Magic that his team won.

He was again felicitated as the Eastern Player of the Week in December 2016, for his appearances from November 28 to December 4. His second triple double for the 2016-17 season (and 7th overall) was accomplished in the game against Portland Trail Blazers on December 7 which Bucks won.

After recording 25 points against New York Knicks on Jan 6, 2017, Giannis Antetokounmpo became the second Bucks player to register a minimum 20 points in 14 successive games, equaling Michael Redd’s record set in 2006.

He was selected to start the 2017 NBA All Star Game as a member of the Eastern Conference’s All-Star squad.

On February 19, 2017, Giannis Antetokounmpo made history by becoming the sole player from Bucks to be selected as an All-Star squad member after Michael Redd. Following his selection as a starter in an All Star Game, at the age of twenty-two, he became the youngest basketball player to do so in club franchise history.

Giannis also became the first and only Greek NBA All-Star player to start an All-Star game. He was designated Eastern Conference Player of the Month in 2017, on  April 3, for all his appearances in the month of March, which was a career first for him.

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He became the fourth Bucks player to be selected as Eastern Conference Player of the Month after Sidney Monicrief, Terry Cummins, and Michael Redd. After achieving his third triple-double for 2016-17, on April 10, 2017, he matched Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s record.

He became the fifth player in the history of NBA to lead Bucks in the statistical categories of points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals. Also, his unprecedented achievement made him the first NBA player to rank within 20 in every major statistical category in a normal season.

He became the first Bucks player to be honored with the NBA Most Improved Player Award for the 2016-17 Season. He continued to play a significant role as a Milwaukee Bucks team member, maintaining his spell of robust performance.

Playing for the National Team of Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo debuted for Greece, his homeland, when he was selected as a member of the Greek Under-20 national team in July 2013. The following year, he was part of the senior Greek national basketball team that was drawn up for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

He also represented the national squad in EuroBasket 2015.

Awards & Achievements

Giannis, in his professional career so far, has won several awards, including the 2017 NBA All-Star and NBA Most Improved Player Awards.

Personal Life

Giannis Antetokounmpo received Greek citizenship on May 9, 2013, when he was almost twenty years old. His father, Charles, was a professional footballer and his mother, Veronica, was an Athlete. He has four brothers, two of whom are elder while two are younger than him.

Except the eldest brother, Francis, who plays football, all the other brothers are professional basketball players.

Giannis Antetokounmpo started dating volleyball player Mariah Riddlesprigger. They welcomed their son Liam Charles in February 2020. In early 2022, they welcomed their second child.

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