On This Day: NBA superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, was born

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Milwaukee Bucks star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has come a long way in his NBA career. After selling anything he can on the streets of Greece just so he can buy a pair of basketball shoes, he’s now the league’s reigning MVP and one of the best players in the world.

To celebrate his birthday today, The Greek Herald shares its top three facts about the ‘Greek Freak.’

1. Love for Greece:

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers Thanasis, Kostas and Alexis grew up in poverty in their early days in Greece, where their parents had arrived from Nigeria as immigrants.

The NBA star and his family grew up in the Athenian suburb of Sepolia. He began playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens.

Giannis’ mother and brother Alex gained Greek citizenship in 2021.

In 2013, he was granted Greek citizenship which allowed him to travel to the United States and join the Bucks later that year. His mother and brother Alex gained citizenship in 2021.

READ MORE: Giannis Antetokounmpo meets with Kyriakos Mitsotakis as mum, brother handed citizenship.

“We always felt Greek, but now we have an official stamp and we are happy,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after the ceremony. 

2. NBA Career:

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports.

Giannis is an NBA superstar.

In his 2016/17 season for the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis 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.

READ MORE: ‘You won the gene pool’: US President Joe Biden meets Giannis Antetokounmpo at White House.

Giannis 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.

READ MORE: Giannis Antetokounmpo makes history as Bucks win 2021 NBA Championship.

In 2021, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to their first NBA championship since 1971 and was named Finals MVP. The same year, he was selected on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

3. Disney Film:

The Disney+ service has started developing a new feature film about the life of Giannis.

READ MORE: ‘Greek Freak’: Disney takes on new film about life of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The film will focus on Giannis’ early life and current career. There will be a focus on his early life as the son of Nigerian immigrants in Greece and juggling this conflict to become a leading NBA All-Star.

It is so far unclear if the film will also feature Alex and Kostas, the other two Antetokoumpo brothers.

READ MORE: Behind the scenes of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s film, ‘Greek Freak’.

Casting has begin for the film with the website saying they are looking for young actors to play two versions of Giannis. The first is a 13-15 year old who will play Giannis in his early teens. The second is a slightly older Giannis, depicting The Greek Freak’s rise to stardom.

READ MORE: Disney begin casting for ‘Greek Freak’ movie on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s life.

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