Giannis Antetokounmpo never forgets his roots
In an interview with ESPN, Giannis Antetokounmpo, known as the “Greek Freak” due to freakish athletic abilities and his prowess on the court, remembered the days when he and his older brother Thanasis would help his family survive by selling anything he could find on the streets.
“So, just growing up and going through life and how tough life was for me and my family, I’m always going to stay humble. Even now, it doesn’t really matter if I’ve got a $100 million contract or a $100 million Nike contract, it’s the way I grew up, it’s the way I go through life. I’m not changing.”
“You can just never forget where you came from,” Antetokounmpo told ESPN. “I know that they’re going to go out there and they’re going to sell it, but I used to be that little kid or that little guy that was selling stuff in the street.
Having taken part in his second NBA All-Star Game, the Greek Freak says he plays basketball because he genuinely loves the game. He says it is not about the money or the fame.
“I was young,” Antetokounmpo recalls. “I was selling stuff probably since I could remember, like 6 or 7 years old. I was always out there helping my mom and dad sell watches, glasses, CDs, DVDs, stuff like that. Whatever we could put our hands on. I did it until I was around 17. But I was just doing it because I had to.
There was no other option. If we didn’t sell that night, we wouldn’t have food. Or if we sold, we’d have to think if we’re going to pay the rent or buy some food. It wasn’t easy. And that’s something that wasn’t long ago. Like five years ago, six years ago; it’s not easy to forget.
“But those moments back then, they were beautiful, man. Going through the struggle and making it out of it and seeing your family doing good now, it’s unbelievable. I remember those moments and I’m happy I went through those times.”
He’s now considered by many people as the future face of the NBA, and the financial struggle is over for him and his family. Still, the hustle remains.
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