Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins 2021 NBA Finals MVP

NBA’s Greatest of all time and most valuable player for Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo was born on December 06, 1994, in Athens, Greece to Nigerian parents.

The Greek professional basketball player, successfully secured a professional contract with Filathlitikos which made his family move to Zografou in Athens, the club’s location. His parents also got a job through the support of the team’s manager. Giannis served the team at the youth level for three years with a spectacular performance in every competition. His undisputable tactics and dribbles attracted several top-notch basketball clubs around Europe.

Giannis Antetokounmpo later moved to the club’s senior team in 2012 where he was among the representatives of the team in the year’s league. The ace basketball player signed another contract with CAI Zaragoza, a basketball club in Spain which he represented for only a year. In 2013, he qualified for NBA’s selections for the season of 2013/2014 and was among the first selection for Milwaukee Bucks where he began his official contract for the club.

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In less than a year with Bucks, he had excelled and ranked top-earning him competitions including NBA All-Star Weekend’s match, “Rising Stars Challenge” held at New Orleans, ‘Slam Dunk’ and “All-Rookie Line-up”. His one-year contract with Bucks was then renewed for another two years thus, from 2014-2016.

His unimaginable flairs and speed play on the basketball court earned him the nickname, “Greek Freak”. He led the Bucks basketball team in Milwaukee to champion a lot of competitions and earned back-to-back league MVPs among other juicy honors after putting up great scores in all the seasons.

His commitment and outstanding performance for the game and team has won him a lot of award such as the “Eastern Conference Player” in 2015, “Most Improved Player” award in 2017 the “NBA Defensive Player of the Year” in 2020. He was again selected as “All-Star captain” in 2019 and 2020 when he led the Eastern Conference in voting in the above years.

He became the first player in the history of the NBA to complete a regular season in the top 20 in all five statistics of total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks from 2016-2017. He’s been honored as the youngest player to score mind-blowing points and consistently at every game.

This time around with a historic and trailblazing record, the Greek Freak has led Bucks to be champions for the first time after their victory 50 years ago, in the just-ended NBA finals against Phoenix Suns. He was also adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP).

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Photo Credit: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Tallest African NBA Players

TBT: Africa’s contribution to the NBA is undeniable, as some of the tallest and the most successful basketball players of players of African descent. In no particular order, lets check out some of the NBA players making Africa proud!

1- Giannis Antetokounmpo

Popularly called “Greek Freak” Giannis was born on December 6, 1994, in Greece to Nigerian parents. He started playing basketball in 2007 and quickly ended up joining the youth squad and senior team of Filathlitikos.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo
Photo Credit: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Instagram)

Giannis has joined the 2013 NBA draft and was selected to sign a contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, quickly rising to the primary playmaker position in two years.

His most significant achievement was to finish the 2016-2017 season within the top 20 in all categories, which earned him the Most Improved Player award as well as three All-Star selections in 2019. He is 6 ft 11 in tall.

2- Kostas Antetokounmpo

Kostas, born in 1997, is the younger brother of Giannis. Just like his brother, his basketball career started in Filathlitikos. When the Bucks signed his brother, he also relocated to the US and attended high school in Wisconsin.

Kostas Antetokounmpo
Photo Credit: Kostas Antetokounmpo

His entrance to NBA was with the 2018 NBA draft where he signed a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks and the Texas Legends.

Kostas’s debut was  in March 2019, his team played with Portland Trail Blazers with 118-126. He is 6 ft 10 in  tall.

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3- Udoka Azubuike

Udoka was born in 1999 in Nigeria as the youngest of five siblings. Shortly after losing his father at the age of 10, he received a scholarship from Basketball Without Borders to go to the US.

During his high school years in Florida, his coach and the coach’s wife became legal guardians. He played in 2016 McDonald’s All-American Boys Game, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit.

 

Udoka Azubuike
Credit: Udoka Azubuike

Ranked in the top 30 of the best overall players by Rivals.com and ESPN. During college, he achieved a high goal percentage that was acclaimed by many. He is expected to join the 2019 NBA Draft. He is 7 ft  tall.

4- Ekpe Udoh

Udoh was born in 1987 in Oklahoma. After playing basketball for three seasons in college, he received an honorable mention of All –American Honors by the Associated Press.

Ekpe changed teams frequently during his time in NBA. In the 2010 NBA Draft, he was selected by the Golden State Warriors.

Ekpe Udoh
Photo Credit: Ekpe Udoh

Shortly after that, he was hired by the Israeli tea Bnei Herzilya for a few months, followed by a trade to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for another player.

In addition, he played for Los Angeles Clippers for a short while before signing for Turkey’s Fenerbahce for three years. He is currently with NBA’s Utah Jazz. He is 6 ft 10 tall.

5- Pascal Siakam

Pascal was born in 1995 in Cameroon. Developing an interest in basketball at a young age, he participated in the Basketball Without Borders camp, where his enthusiasm and passion was quickly caught under the radar.

At the age of 16, he relocated to the US and attended New Mexico State University, where he played at their basketball team.

Pascal Siakam
Photo Credit: Pascal Siakam

The 2016 NBA Draft saw him being elected by the Toronto Raptors. His breakthrough in the team came with the NBA championship in 2019, which earned him NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. He is 6 ft 9 in tall.

6- Bismack Biyombo

Bismack was born in 1992 in DRC as one of seven siblings. He took an interest in basketball at a young age and started attending youth tournaments.

While he was in Yemen for yet another match, he was discovered by the Portuguese Coach Mario Palma who gave him training in Spain.

Biyombo then played in Fuenlabrada-Gedate Madrid and CB Illescas for two seasons. Joining the 2011 NBA draft, he was assigned to the Charlotte Bobcats where he played for four years.

Bismack Biyombo
Photo Credit: Bismack Biyombo

In 2015, he signed a two-year contract with the Toronto Raptors, followed by a two-year contract with Orlando Magic in 2016. Finally, in 2018, he was traded back to the Charlotte Hornets. He is 6 ft 9 in tall.

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Source: Research/African News/