Greek basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo can add another honor to his long list of accomplishments, as a bus route in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was named after him in honor of his 27th birthday.
The birthday gift from the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Antetokounmpo, also known as “The Greek Freak,” plays for the NBA team the Milwaukee Bucks, is meant to honor the player, who has won the hearts of fans.
Bus route 34, which runs from Hopkins to Congress, has now been renamed the “Giannis Line,” as 34 is the number of Antetokounmpo’s jersey. The route went into service on Sunday, which was just one day before the player’s birthday.
The bus route named after Giannis Antetokounmpo
— RideMCTS (@RideMCTS) December 6, 2021
In its announcement of the newly-christened bus route, the Milwaukee County Transit System spoke about Antetokounmpo’s prominence in the community, writing:
“Giannis has been an upstanding figure in the Milwaukee community ever since he arrived back in 2013, including his participation in the social justice movement of 2020.
“MCTS has been a part of the fabric of the Milwaukee community for decades and now so will the Bucks’ superstar who, along with his teammates, brought our city its first NBA championship in 50 years…Happy Birthday, Giannis!” the announcement continued.
Antetokounmpo has brought immense pride to his city, as he suffered through a gruesome knee injury in order to deliver the title for the Bucks this year, who had not won an NBA Championship in 40 years.
The Greek Freak’s journey to the NBA
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.
In 2007, Antetokounmpo started playing basketball and in 2011 joined his local team Filathlitikos. After a brief stint 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. Over the summer of 2021, 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 then, only Abdul-Jabbar and Robertson had ever done: lead the Bucks to an NBA title.