Greek NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis returned to their native Greece on Sunday with their hard-earned NBA Finals Trophy in hand.
The brothers, who both play for the Milwaukee Bucks, earned the trophy after helping their team win the NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns in July.
The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 100-94 in game six of the NBA finals to win the 2021 NBA Championship on July 20, 2021 — the first NBA championship for the Bucks in decades.
The Greek Freak once again led the team to a great game to secure the first Championship of his career. Behind 50 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks from their superstar forward, the Bucks held off the Phoenix Suns to win the franchise’s first championship since 1971 on their home court.
Giannis was awarded the MVP trophy for his incredible performance in the NBA Finals.
Antetokounmpo brothers proud to return to Greece
Speaking during a press conference at the airport in Athens on Sunday, the Antetokounmpo brothers expressed their pride at bringing the trophy back to Greece.
“We’re going to take it everywhere, to Sepolia, Zografou, to all the places we grew up in,” Giannis stated on Sunday.
“We aren’t going to stop. Our parents didn’t stop working. They worked constantly to feed us and to raise us. We got this from them. We will never stop working, just like our parents,” he continued.
The basketball stars are expected to receive a hero’s welcome in their old neighborhood of Sepolia in Athens. The last time the Antetokounmpos visited the area in 2019, thousands of people came to celebrate the incredible athletes.
The brothers are the pride and joy of Greece. Born of immigrant parents from Nigeria, the NBA stars became Greek citizens in 2013.
After gaining Greek citizenship in 2013, his family Hellenized their surname from Adetokunbo to Antetokounmpo to more closely follow Greek spelling rules.
His parents, as illegal immigrants, could not easily find work, so Giannis and his older brother, Thanasis, helped by hawking watches, handbags and sunglasses in the streets.
The Greek Freak’s journey to the NBA
In 2007, Antetokounmpo started playing basketball and in 2011 joined his local team Filathlitikos. After a brief spell in Spain he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks.
In 2013, Antetokounmpo stood between his parents on the court inside Bradley Center and gazed up at the ceiling, where the retired jerseys for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson hung in the rafters.
“Maybe in 15 years, 20 years,” the young man said, “maybe my name is up there next to Kareem, Oscar Robertson. “I hope I’m there.”
He had just been drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2013 NBA draft. Tuesday night, with more than 80,000 people crammed in and around Fiserv Forum, Antetokounmpo capped off a spectacular NBA Finals with a legendary performance to do what, until now, only Abdul-Jabbar and Robertson had ever done: Lead the Bucks to an NBA title.