Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the biggest basketball stars on the planet. He’s a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and was selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft. He was the 15th pick — and the Bucks would likely tell you he’s one of the best picks the team has ever made. During his time so far in the NBA, he’s won titles and awards such as 2018-19 MVP, NBA’s Most Improved Player (2017), 2019-20 season’s Kia Defensive Player of the Yearand been a three time All Star game starter. He’s also the Buck’sall-time leading player in achieving triple-doubles.
A forward like Antetokounmpo can help to boost a team’s NBA championship odds, such is his skill, prowess and power to turn the game around for his team. Below is a look at the life of the Bucks’ main man, including his early days, his commercial interests and the ways he likes to pass the time when he’s not on the court.
|Real Name:||Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo|
|Date of Birth:||December 6, 1994|
|Place of Birth:||Athens, Greece|
|Parents:||Charles Antetokounmpo, Veronica Antetokounmpo|
|Siblings:||Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Francis Antetokounmpo, Alex Antetokounmpo|
|Height:||5 feet 10 in|
|Net Worth:||$70 million|
Nicknamed “The Greek Freak,” Antetokounmpo was born in Athens, Greece, and didn’t get his first taste of basketball until he was 13 years old. It’s hard to believe that a player who began his basketball journey in the Greek second division and, until not long ago, was selling goods on the streets of Athens would, in 2020, sign the most lucrative contract in NBA history.
Antetokounmpo had a difficult youth. As a child of Nigerian immigrants he was stateless because they weren’t officially recognized as Greek citizens, even though he himself was born in Athens. His father worked as a handyman and his mother as a babysitter, and Giannis and one of his brothers sold goods on the streets to help the family get by. He and his family also had to deal with lots of housing evictions and xenophobia.
Journeying into basketball
Although he initially played soccer, in 2007 a local basketball spotted Giannis’s potential for sport and, advising her it could change the family’s life, persuaded his mother to allow him to play basketball. She agreed, and Giannis quickly made progress. Three years later, he was playing in the Greek second division for Filathlitikos. Soon he caught the eye of scouts from Europe and America, and in 2013 he announced himself available for the NBA draft.
Despite the fact Giannis only had five years of basketball experience under his belt, the Bucks were willing to take a chance on him. It was a gamble that paid off. In his first five seasons with the team, the Bucks reached the playoffs three times.
One of the secrets to his success has been his willingness to keep improving, and his strong desire to win is his motivation. Another important factor in his success has been his mentorship under the late Kobe Bryant, who taught him to play basketball with the fascination of a child,
Financial status and endorsements
His supermax contract, which came into effect for the 2021-22 season, sees him earn almost $480,000 per game as part of the $228million deal. The website of sports publication Marca, quoting figures from Celebrity Net Worth website, reports that Giannis has a net worth of $70 million, courtesy of his salary from the Bucks and also thanks to brand endorsement deals with Nike and WhatsApp. There have been claims it’s closer to $100 million, though.
Lots of different brands want to work with Giannis. Marca suggests on its website that in the 2019-20 season alone, Giannis received $20 million from endorsement projects. His deal with Nike earns him $100 million, and he teamed up with WhatsApp to create a film called “Naija Odyssey.” In this 12-minute film, which is loosely based on Homer’s “The Odyssey,” Giannis tells his own origin story. Other brands that work with Giannis include T-Mobile, JBL, Hulu, Tissot, Kronos Foods and 2K Sports.
Life outside of the basketball court
When not on the basketball court, Giannis has the slightly unusual hobby of collecting basketball cards. In more recent years, he’s also taken up the guitar. If he needs any tips, he may decide to seek them from his elder brother Francis, who is following a career in music.
Note that Giannis isn’t the only brother in the family to have been a success in the NBA. In 2019, he was actually reunited with his brother Thanasis, who joined the Bucks. His brother Kostas has also set foot on the courts of the NBA in the past and earned a championship ring with the LA Lakers in their October 2020 title win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has had a glorious career so far in the NBA and still has plenty to achieve. He has the skills to do so, and he’s made a fantastic living from playing basketball. His difficult life in Athens seems so very far away now.