Giannis Sina Ougko Antetokounmpo (born December 6, 1994) is a Greek professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Although nearly 7 feet tall, Antetokounmpo possesses the "ball-handling skills of a point guard and the battering ram force of an old school center," giving rise to his nickname the "Greek Freak".
Early life and career
Antetokounmpo grew up in the Athens neighborhood of Sepolia. The New York Times reported: "Like many other immigrants to Greece, his parents struggled to find work. Antetokounmpo and his older brother, Thanasis, helped out by hawking items such as watches, bags and sunglasses." In 2007 Antetokounmpo started playing basketball, and by 2009 he was playing competitively for the youth squad of Filathlitikos. In 2011 he joined the senior men's team of Filathlitikos, and played with them in Greece's third-tier level semi-pro league, the Greek 3rd Division, during the 2011–12 season.
NBA Awards 2019 KIA Most Valuable Player (MVP): Giannis Antetokounmpo
Brian Sampson wrote for Forbes the article, Giannis Antetokounmpo Rises To The Challenge, Wins MVP. Some key points of the article.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo took the next step in his larger than life rise to NBA superstardom by winning the 2018-19 NBA Most Valuable Player award. And the results weren't even that close. The Greek Freak collected 78 out of a possible 101 first-place votes and 23 more second-place votes. His 941 total points beat out the reigning MVP James Harden by a significant margin.
- Antetokounmpo isn't satisfied with winning the MVP award. He wants more. He had a warning to the rest of the league during his acceptance speech on Monday night, "This is just the beginning. My goal is to win a championship. I'm going to do whatever it takes to make that happen." If there's anything we know about the Greek Freak, it's that when he sets his mind on something he usually gets it.
Ben Golliver, wrote the article for The Washington Post, Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP award, completing rise from unknown to superstar. Some key points of the article.
- During the 2013 NBA draft, analyst Fran Fraschilla introduced Giannis Antetokounmpo, a raw and relatively unknown 18-year-old from Greece, as the evening’s “most mysterious” prospect. Six years later, the Milwaukee Bucks forward earned a significantly more prestigious superlative: most valuable player.
- The hype around the “Greek Freak” — a long-striding forward who even then excelled in transition and covered ground like few NBA players — propelled him to the 15th pick in 2013 and a bench role as a rookie.
- Antetokounmpo’s step-by-step advance continued from there: He became a full-time starter in 2014-15, a lead scoring option in 2015-16, the NBA’s most improved player in 2016-17 and a clear-cut franchise player in 2017-18. This season, his first under Coach Mike Budenholzer, Antetokounmpo led the Eastern Conference in all-star votes, guided the Bucks to their most regular season victories since 1980-81 and delivered the franchise’s first playoff series win since 2001.
- The sixth-year pro was the central force of Milwaukee’s third-ranked offense, driving hard to the basket to set up his teammates’ outside shots, and the linchpin of its top-ranked defense. Antetokounmpo was also one of three finalists for defensive player of the year, an award claimed by Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
- In the playoffs, Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee to a breezy sweep of the Detroit Pistons in the first round and a five-game thumping of the Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals. After claiming a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors in the conference finals, the Bucks lost four straight games in stunning fashion. Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, the eventual NBA Finals MVP, switched onto Antetokounmpo in the defining adjustment of the series.
The story how NBA sensation Giannis Antetokounmpo's one of a kind talent was discovered
Giannis Antetokounmpo is #26 in the The World's Highest-Paid Athletes list
#26 Giannis Antetokounmpo
- The Greek Freak extended his Nike deal and bumped its annual pay from $20,000 to $9 million.
- The compensation from his Nike deal will climb with the release of his first signature sneaker in 2019.
- In 2016, Antetokounmpo agreed to a four-year, $100 million extension that runs through the 2020-21 season.
- The three-time All Star led the league in efficiency rating and win shares during the 2018-19 season; he was top ten in scoring, rebounds and blocks.