Milwaukee Bucks of USA basketball team’s Nigerian-born star, Giannis Adetokunbo (more popular with his adopted name, Antetokounmpo) has restated his love for his roots, as he opined that Africa has many young and old talents in the sport, all of who he admires a lot, megasportsarena.com gathered.
It is another remarkable reference by Antetokounmpo to his Nigerian origin, which he has never been shy of revealing and celebrating, though he plays for the national team of Greece, where he was born, and he is currently one of the biggest stars in America’s high-profile National Basketball Association (NBA) league.
While he generally known as ‘The Greek Freak,’ due to his remarkable efforts with his country of birth and heroics in the NBA, Antetokounmpo, who is the league’s reigning league most valuable player (MVP), is always ready to hype the African in him and easily declares how much he loves his parents’ country, Nigeria.
Such it was also recently in his role as an All-Star captain, as The Bucks forward displayed his pride in his African heritage during the draft, first picking Joel Embiid and then Pascal Siakam, after which he boldly stated love for his Nigerian heritage during an ensuing media interview.
Though Antetokounmpo was born in Greece after his parents moved from Lagos in 1991, the four-time All-Star said he grew up in a purely African home, hearing his mother speak her native Igbo language, while also enjoying Nigerian food, culture and music; which all make him proud of his roots.
He opened up to The Undefeated about his strong desire to keep learning more about his roots, to keep feeling a lot more Nigerian that would ever be imagined all of which he knows make many people back in the African country embrace him and identify with everything about him.
Antetokounmpo said: “My parents are Nigerian. When I go back home, it’s Nigerian. Nigeria is in my blood. But I was raised and I was born in Greece. I’m both. Just to be arguing about it, that’s silly and that’s dumb. In my opinion, it has to be accepted that a guy can be both. He can feel both.
They call me The Greek Freak and a lot of people support me and all that. A lot of people don’t know that I love my Nigerian side. I was really, really happy about that. My mom is Nigerian, I don’t have Greek in my house, so a lot of Nigerian people reaching out to me — was amazing. It made me feel welcome, so that was nice.
“It’s not a competition. I kind of hate that. I really do hate that. I’ve spoken about it. I kind of hate that a lot of people say, ‘He’s not Greek, he’s Nigerian.’ ‘No, he’s not Nigerian, he’s Greek.’ I’m both. I’m both. The same way a lot of people are both, I’m both.”