This Filathlitikos B.C., jersey belonged to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who played for the Greek team during the 2011-2012 season, leading up to his draft by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and his four brothers were raised in Greece by their parents, Charles and Veronica, Nigerians who emigrated to the European country in 1993. Challenged by racism and xenophobia, Charles often struggled to find work, and the family lived in fear of deportation. The boys would help their family by selling goods such a handbags, watches and sunglasses on street corners. Giannis told Time “Because my parents were illegal, they couldn't trust anybody. They were always nervous. A neighbor could be like, 'These people are making too much noise, their children are making too much noise,' and the cops could knock at our door and ask for our papers, and that's it. It's that simple. So you're always a little closed.”
Despite the challenges of poverty, including the need to share the same pair of basketball shoes, Giannis and his older brother Thanasis, took up the sport of basketball. After being discovered at the age of 13, Giannis made great strides playing junior and professional basketball in Greece. By the age of 17, word had gotten out about the 6 ’11 youth with tantalizing athleticism and incredible dedication.
In 2013, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Giannis with the 15th overall pick in that year’s NBA draft. A two-time Most Valuable Player, and five-time All-Star, Giannis led the Bucks to the NBA championship this year. After falling behind two games early in the series, Giannis and the Bucks rallied to win four straight games, defeating the Phoenix Suns in game six to become the 2021 NBA champions, the first championship for the Milwaukee Bucks since 1971. Giannis’ dominant performance throughout the playoffs was recognized with him being named the NBA Finals MVP.
Despite incredible successes and international superstardom, the young athlete promises to remain grounded to his roots. "You can just never forget where you came from," Giannis told ESPN. “Just growing up and going through life and how tough life was for me and my family, I'm always going to stay humble.”