In 2013, after the largely-unknown Giannis Antetokounmpo was selected with an NBA Draft first-round pick by the Milwaukee Bucks, he needed help getting Greek citizenship in order to join his new team in the United States. Giannis was born in Athens in 26 to two Nigerian immigrants. Greece, unlike the U.S., does not have birthright citizenship.
This has been a pretty incredible year for Giannis. After back-to-back regular season MVPs in 2019 and 2020, he led the Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years, winning NBA Finals MVP in the process. He and girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger also have their second child on the way, after his son Liam was born last February.
In August, after winning the title, Giannis and his brother Thanasis, who is also on the Bucks, brought the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Greece to celebrate with his home country. He’s back in Athens today, for a ceremony that has to be one of the highlights of a packed year.
According to the Associated Press, Antetokounmpo’s mother Veronica and youngest brother Alex have been granted their Greek citizenship, at long last. Veronica moved from Nigeria in 1991. Today marks the end of a 30-year process for her and the rest of the Antetokounmpo family to finally be embraced by their home country.
Milwaukee Bucks star @Giannis_An34 Antetokounmpo was in Greece for a meeting with the country’s prime minister and a special ceremony to bestow Greek citizenship on his mother Veronica and younger brother Alex. #NBA
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) September 16, 2021
Giannis and his family attended the ceremony at the residence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to make things official. This is clearly a special day for them all.
“We always felt Greek, but now we have an official stamp and we are happy,” the NBA star told local reports. “Alex and my mom are Greek citizens now.”
Giannis has another younger brother, Kostas, who has played for the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, along with G-League stints. He is now paying in France for ASVEL Basket in the French Pro A League. Alex attended high school in Wisconsin, but opted to go pro in Europe rather than playing college ball like Kostas did at Dayton. He is a member of UCAM Murcia in the Spanish league.