Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has confirmed that both of his parents are Nigerians and he was brought up the Nigerian way in Greece.
Giannis Antetokounmpo revealed his parents’ names as Charles and Veronica Adetokunbo. Charles a Yoruba man from Lagos and Veronica an Igbo woman.
For a while, the Super Star has not hidden his Nigerian roots despite representing the Greek national team and the “Greek Freak” appellation.
On his Instagram and Twitter pages, Giannis Antetokounmpo has both Greece and Nigeria flags on his bio and he has always been vocal about his Nigerian roots.
Born in Athens, Greece, to Nigerian parents whose names were unknown until he revealed their identities during an interview with the undefeated.
“Obviously, a lot of people don’t know where I’m from,” Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo told The Undefeated. “A lot of people think my mom or my dad are from Greece, but no. Both of my parents are black. Both of my parents are Nigerian.”
“I grew up in a Nigerian home,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, I was born in Greece and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when I go home, there is no Greek culture. It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals.”
Veronica Adetokunbo spoke to her sons in the Nigerian language of Igbo, which is one of the main Nigerian languages.
“I can understand it a little bit. I can count. It’s not like I’m fluent,” Antetokounmpo said of Igbo. “It’s not like I can go back home to Nigeria and they can understand what I am saying. It’s kind of funny.”
“Both my parents are from Nigeria. But Nigeria is like 250 dialects, so my mom and my dad don’t speak the same language.”
Charles and Veronica Adetokunbo moved from Lagos to Greece in 1991 in hopes of a better future for themselves and their family after struggling to find employment. The Adetokunbos’ eldest son, Francis, was left behind in Lagos to be raised by his grandparents.
Charles Adetokunbo worked as a handyman and wife Veronica as a babysitter in their struggle to make ends meet for their family, which was the only black one in the area, according to The New York Times. The Adetokunbos had four more sons, all born in Greece, including Giannis on Dec. 6, 1994.
(Antetokounmpo became Giannis’ surname after it was spelled that way on his Greek passport instead of his birth name of Adetokunbo.)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the winner of the 2019 NBA regular season MVP is also in contention for the award this year for a short at the award on two consecutive occasions.