The rise of the Antetokounmpo brothers in the NBA has been a remarkable, yet unspoken one in the past few years. With all the Antetokounmpo brothers playing professional sports, their childhood was a hard but united one. Brought up in Sepolia, a neighbourhood in the north of the capital, Athens, the brothers have gone from selling items to make ends meet to competing in basketball’s biggest competition in the world – the NBA.
Charles Antetokounmpo was employed as a handyman, while his wife took up numerous babysitting jobs for a living, after moving to Greece in 1991. The children also helped the family by selling watches and other items to make some extra money. The five sons – Francis, Thanasis, Giannis, Kostas, Alex started playing sport at a very young age. 4 out of the 5 brothers play basketball while Francis found his passion in football playing for a Greek second-tier side.
In 2009, Giannis began going for basketball trials at the age of 15 and bagged his first trial at Filathilitikos, a professional club in Athens, Greece. He quickly rose through the ranks and made his senior team debut in 2012, which invited a few European clubs to sign him. His one performance in a game saw him scoring 50 points, which eventually earned him a contract in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013. He also became the youngest player to start an All-Star Game in 2017 and went on to win the most coveted individual prize, the Most Valuable Player in 2019. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists in the 2019 season and the Bucks had the best regular-season record at 60-22.
In 2016, Antetokounmpo agreed to a four-year, $100 million extension with the Bucks till 2021. In 2019, Nike released the Zoom Freak 1 which was the largest initial signature shoe launch. The following year, Disney secured a deal to develop a movie around his life which is expected to be released in 2022. After earning just under $1.8 million as a rookie, the forward made more than $25 million in 2020, bringing his career total to $81 million.
His elder brother, Thanasis likewise started his career at the same club in Greece. After an impressive showing, he moved to the Delaware 87ers in the NBA G League and a year later was drafted as the 51st pick by the New York Knicks. He played for the development and main team for 3 seasons, In 2017, he moved to Europe by signing for Spanish Club, MoraBanc Andorra and then moved back to his home country playing for, Panathinaikos. He won two consecutive championships with the club and was named the best player in both seasons. The NBA came calling again, with the Milwaukee Bucks offering him a contract to join his younger brother and current MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The younger brother, Kostas Antetokounmpo was the last pick of the 2018 draft and was signed by the Philadelphia 76ers, who traded him to the Mavericks. He was later picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers and currently plays for their G League side – the South Bay Lakers.
The youngest brother, Alex Antetokounmpo is still 19 years and is touted to be one of the brightest basketball stars in the future by many. He signed a contract to play for the Spanish club, Murcia and dreams for a reunion in the NBA with his elder brothers in the near future.
“I definitely think Alex can be better than me. He stays motivated. He wants this. That’s what makes him special. He’s not satisfied ”, said elder brother Giannis Antetokounmpo talking about his younger brother’s future.
The Antetokounmpo brothers are a living example of how hard work brings you nothing but success. They’ve come a long way from selling DVDs on the streets of Sepolia to fighting it out in the NBA bubble to win the ultimate prize – the NBA Championship and the coveted ring.