Top five facts about NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo

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NBA MVP and Milwaukee Bucks star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, was born on this day in 1994. To celebrate the day, we share our top five facts about the Greek Freak.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo started his basketball career in Greece:

Born and raised in Athens, Greece to Nigerian immigrants, Antetokounmpo began playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos.

During 2011 and 2012, Antetokounmpo played with the senior men’s team of Filathlitikos, based in Zografou, Athens, in the semi-pro Greek B Basket League (Third Division).

2. NBA Career:

Antetokounmpo made his NBA debut on October 13, 2013, at the age of 18, as one of the youngest NBA players ever.

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.

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.

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. Served in the Greek military:

As part of the mandatory military service in Greece, Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis, who plays for the New York Knicks, served a reduced three-month military service in 2016. 

The brothers traveled from the US to Greece to serve their term, and later returned to the US to continue their training for the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks.

4. Antetokounmpo has met US President Joe Biden:

In 2021, Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks went to Washington DC to meet with US President Joe Biden, who congratulated them on their 2021 NBA Championship victory.

In a speech at the event, Biden addressed Giannis, who was named the NBA Finals MVP, and said that at “just 26 years old, you’re just getting started.”

“What makes it even more special is you won the title with your brother, who is here today, and you join another brother already with a ring. What a hell of a family, I tell you what. I think you won the gene pool,” Biden said.

5. The Disney movie about Antetokounmpo:

The Walt Disney’ feature film, Rise, is an inspired true story of the life of Antetokounmpo and his family as Nigerian immigrants living in Athens. The story shares the faith and determination of the family to rise out of poverty.

The role of Antetokounmpo was played by Uche Agada, a young actor who saw a casting call  for the movie on Antetokounmpo’s social media. The production took place in Greece and the US.

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