After bringing the NBA championship trophy home to their native Greece this week, Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo climbed the Acropolis on Wednesday where they posed in front of the Parthenon and proudly held their memorabilia.
Giannis, who received the Finals MVP Award after a dominant performance in the series against the Phoenix Suns, posted a series of photographs from their visit on his social media channels.
Prior to their homecoming, the Antetokounmpo brothers were scheduled to visit their neighborhood of Sepolia, Athens, for a celebration. But Giannis announced that they would postpone the event due to wildfires which have ravaged various regions of Greece in the past three days.
“We hope there are no victims from the fire,” Antetokounmpo wrote on Twitter. “It goes without saying that we are canceling today’s celebration in Sepolia. We will inform you about a new day and time.”
Born in Greece to Nigerian immigrant parents, the Antetokounmpo brothers had to sell DVDs and bracelets on the street to provide for their family. They grew up fearing deportation since Greece’s doesn’t recognize children of foreign-born immigrants.
They did not obtain Greek citizenship until 2013, after being drafted by the NBA.
The brothers’ extraordinary rise from Sepolia to the NBA has seized the imagination of the whole of Greece, where basketball normally trails football in popularity.
The neighborhood will also be the focal point of a Disney film about Giannis’ rise to the top of the NBA. Filming is supposed to begin in September for the biopic.
In their old neighborhood, rarely celebrated in the headlines, a giant mural of Giannis in his Milwaukee Bucks jersey, across the court where he and his brothers played and practiced, is testament to the pride felt in his success.
“This journey has been crazy. If you told me eight years ago that I’d be in this position, along with Thanasis, and we’d have the NBA trophy with us, and that we can take it anywhere we wanted, I’d say you’re crazy,” he said.
“But it’s all been done with hard work – and we haven’t stopped. We don’t stop, as a family. That’s what we saw all our lives, our parents never stopped, we’d get back home after school, after practice and we saw our parents constantly working, every day to feed us.”
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