- Giannis Antetokoumnpo is a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks.
- He was just named team captain for the 2023 NBA All Star game.
- The charismatic athlete stars in a hilarious Google Pixel commercial alongside Amy Schumer for Super Bowl LVII.
Giannis Antetokoumnpo, 28, has already made himself quite a name in basketball. Now, a star-studded Google Pixel ad set to air during Super Bowl LVII will help him kick off a career in acting, as well. Appearing alongside Train Wreck star Amy Schumer and music icon Doja Cat, Giannis appears to be hitting the next level in global fame, as the charming commercial shows the trio fixing their photo mistakes with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro’s Magic Eraser tool. As Giannis gears up for the ad to show during the biggest game of the year, here’s what else to know about the NBA superstar and budding actor.
He was born in Athens, Greece
Born Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo in December of 1994 in Athens, Greece, to Nigerian parents, the imposing 7-foot-tall athlete has since been nicknamed “Greek Freak” — because many had trouble pronouncing his formidable name. His remarkable height and outstanding skills as a power forward also marked him as an outstanding athlete from the beginning. In any case, it wasn’t an easy childhood. According to the New York Times, as a youth he helped sell items like watches and sunglasses in the streets of Sepolia to help support his family, including his Nigerian immigrant parents.
He ultimately took Greek citizenship at the age of 18.
He was mentored by the late Kobe Bryant.
Giannis became great by studying the greats before him. Per NBA.com, Kobe Bryant took him under his wing to instill valuable lessons that helped the younger athlete rise to the top of the game. Unfortunately, that also meant that Giannis was left with a deep sense of grief following the stunning death of Kobe on January 26, 2020.
“How did Kobe inspire me? Just work hard, be fearless, don’t really care about what people have to say about you, just go out there and do your job, have a smile on your face,” he said just days later, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You’re going to have to sacrifice a lot, a lot of family time, obviously, to play this game, but your family knows why you were put on this Earth, why you play this game, which is to provide for them because that’s what you’re born to do. Kobe means greatness. He always had that smile, he always had that charisma that he carried with him. I think it touched a lot of people in the world.”
Giannis has athletics in his blood.
According to NPR, his late father Charles was a Nigerian soccer (football) player, and his mother Veronica was a skilled high jumper. Clearly, he was destined for greatness by genetics alone — and he’s grateful for the legacy. He reportedly wears the number 34 for the Bucks in honor of his parents, who were born in 1963 and 1964, respectively.
He set a goal for greatness.
In 2019, when he was named the NBA’s MVP, he opened up in an emotional speech about how he achieved the true mark of greatness in the sport. And it turns out he had a pretty specific plan. “Two, three years ago, I had the goal in my head, that goal [was] to be the best player in the league,” he said during the ceremony in Santa Monica, California. He also credited his father’s unflappable work ethic for the honor.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to win and I’m going to win MVP,” he continued. “And every time I step on the floor, I think of my dad, and that motivates me to play harder and move forward when my body is sore.”
Giannis has athletic brothers.
Not surprisingly, Giannis has siblings who also excel at the sport. An older brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, plays for the Greek team Panathinaikos, and younger brother Kostas has played for the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. Yet another brother, Alex Antetokounmpo, plays for the Wisconsin Herd in the NBA-G league. His eldest brother, Francis, has also played semi pro sports.
“I want to thank my amazing brothers,” he gushed over his siblings while accepting the MVP award. “I love you guys.”