There are times in professional sports history when a certain figure makes a name for himself or herself. At the head of the Olympics, it reminds us of the likes of Jesse Owens, Michael Phelps and other great American athletes.
On the basketball court, LeBron James’ shocking block from Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals he could have cemented his legacy as a great one of all time. Kevin Durant’s triple over King James in the Finals the following year brought him into that conversation.
But it’s no preconceived notion to say that Antetokounmpo stood above these two figures in leading the city of Milwaukee to its first NBA title in half a century. The guy connected on 16 of 25 shots while adding 14 rebounds and five blocks.
For fans in hand at the Fiserv Forum and the tens of thousands around ”Deer District“It wasn’t just about winning a single title. It was about being relevant on the NBA’s broadest stage, on the biggest sports stage.
He brought back memories of old news mills and dusty newspapers depicting a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leading the Bucks to his first NBA title.
Fifty years later, and the artist first known as Lewis Alcindor has managed to watch his original professional basketball team reach the height of success.
In the process, the Antetokounmpo star was born.
For native Greece, it was a long road to the top of the mountain. His presence on the NBA’s Rushmore Mountain didn’t come by accident. It was about hard work, dedication and maturity in all aspects of his life.
He was the son of Nigerian immigrants. Before the arrival of his parents in central Europe, they were forced to leave behind Giannis’ older brother. It was a move that ended up depicting the first part of Antetokounmpo’s life. Practically stateless, without citizenship in either Greece or Nigeria for the first 18 years of his life, he would have come to understand how hard work and a deep knowledge of his family’s history played out in his ascension to stardom.
“Obviously, a lot of people don’t know where they’re from,” Giannis Antetokounmpo told Marc Spears of The Unfeat in 2019. “A lot of people think my mom or dad is from Greece, but no. Both parents are black. Both parents are Nigerian.”
I grew up in a Nigerian home. Obviously, I was born in Greece and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when you go home, there is no Greek culture. It is a direct Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, it’s about morality. “
Selected after Anthony Bennett, Cody Zeller, Alex Len and Shabazz Muhammad in the 2013 NBA Draft, Antetokounmpo has now shown that all skeptics are wrong.
It touches the legendary status. She is a real star and the face of the NBA. It is an inspiration to those who worship after Him. He is the king of Milwaukee. It is the true definition of how hard work and dedication in all aspects of life can combine with decency and humility to lead to success.
We all got one for the Greek Freak while celebrating their first NBA title, knowing full well that it won’t be their last.