Milwaukee Bucks superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, popularly known as ‘The Greek Freak’, has said he is also the ‘The Nigerian Freak’.
The 2021 NBA Champion and two-time regular season MVP, told ESPN’s Malika Andrews, on NBA Today, in an interview monitored by SportsRation.
Fresh from #Eurobasket2022, where he led the Greek national team to the quarterfinal, and finished as the tournament top scorer, with an average point of 29.3.
Giannis sat with Malika and talked about different things mentioned in his short film, “Naija Odyssey”.
The meaning of his name, his Greek and Nigerian heritages, and his nickname.
“You know I have shared it so many times, it doesn’t bother me,” said in response to his nickname, ‘The Greek Freak’.
“But, people don’t call me ‘the Nigerian Freak’, they only call me ‘the Greek Freak’.
“This is the time for people to understand that I am both, I am not just a Greek, I am a Nigerian.
“At the beginning when my dad was still alive, and I was sharing with my mum, they felt some type of way.
“You know as a parent, I will feel some type of way, my son being called the Greek Freak.
“But you know, you cannot choose the name the fans will give to you.
“What I will say to people is, yes, I was born and raised in Greece, I understand the Greek culture.
“I speak the language, and I know the history, at the end of the day, I know the same thing about Nigerian culture.
“I am not just one thing, you cannot tell me what I am, I can tell you how I am feeling, who I am.
“At the end of the day, I feel like I am both, and I have the opportunity to share my journey and my story.
“Actually, I am not going to lie, the first time I saw it, I kinda felt that way.
“But I understand why because I do the kind of things that a lot of people cannot do out there, I like the nickname.
“I like ‘The Greek Freak’, but I am also ‘The Nigerian Freak’. I am not just a Greek but a Nigerian also.
“When raising my kids, I am not just going to teach them about the Greek culture alone, I am also going to teach them about the Nigerian culture.
“That is what my parents did for me, and that is what I am trying to do to my kids.
“So good, as long as I am able to share my story, and make people realize where I am coming from, and I am glad Whatsapp gave me the platform to do that.”
You said when you are in Greece, you are called Nigerian, when in Nigeria, you were called a Greek – what do you call yourself?
“I am both Greek and Nigerian,” said Giannis.
“I am Greeko, Nigeriano.
“In Greece, you are not Greek enough – you know, we have different colours,
“When I play with my African friends, they wondered if I was Nigerian enough, do I speak the languages, do I speak Yoruba or Ibo.”
Naija Odyssey is a short film made in collaboration with Whatsapp, narrated by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
You can watch the documentary below: