Despite playing for Greece, Giannis Antetokounmpo embraces Nigerian heritage and reveals he has the values and principles of Nigeria.
The 28-year-old has been trending on social media as he talked about a variety of issues.
18:30 - 13.09.2023
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Hakeem Olajuwon: Why Nigerian Freak wants to train with Lagos-born NBA legend
After visit to Lagos, Nigerian Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo explains looking up to Hakeem Olajuwon and plans to train with the Lagos-born Legend.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nigerian heritage
Despite playing for the Greece National Team in international competitions, Giannis Antetokounmpo emphasized that his morals and principles are heavily impacted by his Nigerian heritage and culture.
00:40 - 30.07.2023
2-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his mother celebrate return to Nigeria.
Giannis Antetokounmpo discussed his background in the "48 Minutes" podcast, and his remarks on Nigeria have since gained widespread attention.
Even though he was born in Greece and represented the Greek national team, the great player for the Milwaukee Bucks said that everyone knows he is Nigerian.
Giannis Antetokounmpo background
Giannis was born in Greece in 1994 after his parents emigrated there in search of a better life.
Due to the immigration status of his parents, Giannis Antetokounmpo was born and raised in Greece but did not possess a passport.
Giannis filed for a Greek passport after turning 18; he acquired it on May 9th, 2013, about six months later than his birthday and not long before the 2014 NBA Draft.
Giannis on Nigerian values and principles
The Nigerian Freak explained that he was brought up in the Nigeria culture despite being raised in Greece.
He said, "I have the values and principles of Nigeria.
"After all, my parents are Nigerian and I grew up in such an environment.
"Of course, I was born in Greece, I grew up in Greece, with the European mentality, so I have information from both sides."
Giannis drew a comparison between the basketball star and stressed that although though he plays basketball for Greece, his Nigerian origin still plays a crucial role in who he is.
Giannis and Hakeem Olajwuon
Olajuwon joins former legends like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett who have previously collaborated with the Greek Freak.
In the past, Antetokounmpo has said he prefers to work out with retired athletes than his league opponents.
Since they both sport the number 34 and are of Nigerian heritage, Antetokounmpo and Olajuwon were compared in the interview.
Olajuwon was born in Lagos but migrated overseas, whereas Antetokounmpo was born to Nigerian parents in Greece.
Despite having ties to Nigeria, Antetokoumpo represents the Greek national team, whereas Olajuwon, who was born in Lagos, chose to represent the United States.
He said, "That's a great compliment to be in the same sentence as Hakeem Olajuwon.
"One of the best international players to ever play this game. For sure the best African player to ever play this game.
"I loved his game. I always tried to study his game. I loved that he did it the right way; he stuck with his teammates and won two championships.
"This season for the training camp I have a trip that I’m going to go down to Houston and try to work out with Hakeem Olajuwon.
"I love his game and if I can kind of take a few things from his game or learn anything from the few days I'm going to spend with him, it's going to be a blessing.
"It's a guy I looked up to my whole life because he was the number one guy in Nigeria. He was the best athlete in Africa."
In NBA history, Michael Jordan is the only other player to have won both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season in addition to Antetokounmpo and Olajuwon.