The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Greek Player Exels in NBA


Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the Greek teenager who plays in the NBA. He’s one of its rising stars and has been embraced by his new team and by most of his fellow Greeks, here and in America (apart from the usual suspects at Golden Dawn). I thought it was about time we heard some immigrant success stories (of which there are thousands) rather than the usual negativity spouted by the Greek media.

Some of the best NBA players only need to go by their first name — LeBron and Kobe come to mind. In Milwaukee, the Bucks and the community have Giannis. The teenager from Greece has been embraced here, and never more so than over this past weekend.

When the Milwaukee Bucks drafted then 18-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick in last June’s NBA Draft, they were banking on his amazing God-given talent to allow him to grow into an outstanding player.

Giannis grew alright — literally and figuratively — from 6’9? to over 6’10?.

Although he displayed the inconsistency of a teenager from Greece who’d never faced the best players in the world night in and night out, he showed flashes of brilliance.

In the process, Antetokounmpo fell in love with Milwaukee and the community fell in love with him.

“It makes my heart feel great. They are real nice, and I love the city and I love the people of Milwaukee because they really respect you, and I respect them too. I’m glad they like me as a person, and I hope in the future they like me as a player too,” Antetokounmpo said.

Praised for his work ethic and for being a quick study when it comes to the nuances of the game, Giannis has been practicing in the gym to get better since his rookie season ended.

Before that, he returned to his native Greece something of a celebrity after his year in the States and in a Bucks uniform.

“It was a lot different. A lot of people there knew us — me and my brother Thanasis. So it’s nice to go back and people — the Greek people recognize you. It is a little bit annoying because a lot of people stop you, but it is okay,” Antetokounmpo said.

A year ago, Antetokounmpo had never been to America. He barely knew the English language.

A lot has changed since then — fame and fortune, but Giannis says he hasn’t changed.

“I’ve stayed the same person. You know, I’m just doing what I’m doing. I’m just having fun. Playing in the NBA was a dream for me, you know, so I’m just going to continue playing and have fun,” Antetokounmpo said.

On Saturday night, June 14th, Giannis and his family were having fun as guests at the Saints Constantine and Helen Orthodox Church’s Greek Festival.

“It feels really nice speaking Greek, you know, for a little bit, because it was a long time since I’ve spoken Greek the last time, so it is nice coming here — and having some Greek food too,” Antetokounmpo said.

At the age of 19, Giannis is still a kid at heart, so his parents love and guidance means everything to him.

“They help me a lot because they are not going to lie to me. They will always tell me the truth even when I am wrong, so it is nice to have your family on your side, because it is tough, and when I came here I was 18, so it was real tough to be alone here, and I’m glad that I have my family here so they can make me stay grounded and give me the right advice,” Antetokounmpo said.

When Veronica and Charles Antetokounmpo came to Milwaukee with the family to be reunited with their son, he wasn’t lonely anymore, and they became celebrities at Bucks games in their own right.

Like Giannis, they are grateful to be part of the Bucks family and the community.

“I am grateful to everybody, everybody,” Charles Antetokounmpo said.


  1. Divaisantigreek
    July 1, 2014    

    um one problem is that he not really Greek, at least not ethnically….why well because his clearly black..but even if he was “another euro/white” it still applies….its just more obvious that he is not ethnically Greek than let say a mediteranean type person who can pass… he might be a greek citizen and someone who is not a greek citizen but is a citizen of lets say australia but derives from greek (ethnically) parents is Greek…(ethnically).

    I do not subscribe and most people ( and no its not just Golden Dawn ) do not subscribe to what your trying to basically twist here… ie. Ethnic Identity is NOT Real.. but rather a matter of just being born somewhere.

    Are you trying to deny us Greeks our ethnic identity by transforming Greek identity to solely a citizenship but not a real heritage group???

    his heritage / blood is an African based group, not Greek..nothing bad or wrong with being African but there you go thats what he clealy is……if i lived in china and have kids with my greek wife and their kids marry other greeks and live in china do you really think you could fool the Chinese in to believing we are Chinese!!!!??

    There is a Russian minority in China that has been there for well over a century. they number a few thousand i believe its 30,000 but they are not Chinese. they do not think they are Chinese, the Chinese do not think they are Chinese… they have Chinese citizenship and have full rights under the laws of that country and cultural rights too. But even if they have been there for 4 or 5 generations ….they are still not Chinese..

    If i take chiuaua (sorry for the spelling) from Mexico and raise it Germany and its puppies and so forth it will never be German Shephard

    Any way what you are trying to do sounds like racism to me…ie. he can embrace his African roots and if we told him no you must be Greek we are denying his heritage….but when it suits your desire to multiculturalise and multiracialize Greece he still be Greek to you when its convenient as well for that agenda..and if we dont agree we are the dreaded R word…. when in fact its YOU who are being racist!!..

    by trying to “force” or redefine Greekness this way. you undermine my group and greater kin in group our unique blood (noticed I did NOT say superior , but unique we are all unique as individuals and groupings are unique from each other as well, which is well and good, if you truly value diversity).


  2. deviousdiva
    July 2, 2014    

    I did not say he was ethnically Greek. He is a Greek citizen… born and educated in this country. What do you suggest I call him? “Not really a Greek Greek”? There is no term for Greeks with different heritages yet. Once there is, I will use it. For now, I will refer to him as Greek.