MILWAUKEE – The world might know Giannis Antetokounmpo as an NBA MVP. But in 2013, he was an 18 year old kid living in Greece with big dreams.
“I want to be an NBA player,” then 18-year-old Giannis said in 2013 when asked what his career goal was.
Mirin Fader wrote the book “Giannis: The Improbably Rise of an NBA MVP”. It focuses on Giannis’ early years.
Fader says Giannis grew up in one- and two-room apartments with his three brothers and his mother and father. The family was constantly moving because of the evictions. On top of that, his parents were undocumented immigrants. This made Giannis and his siblings fear that their parents could be arrested and deported by the government at any time.
“Her parents Charles and Veronica were working hard outside in these open air markets, with illegal permits trying to sell. And there were just days when they just didn’t bring home you. know, not much, and there were days her dad didn’t eat for two days, ”Fader said.
In order to play basketball, Fader says that Giannis and his brother Thanasis walked about five miles to the gym, sometimes sleeping there when they trained twice a day.
“You know, it’s very, very difficult to play sports when you haven’t eaten anything. And to hear his teammates tell me that there have been training sessions where he passed out because he didn’t eat anything, ”said Fader.
Even though Giannis was born in Greece, the Greek government would not give him a passport or claim him as a citizen until he was enlisted.
“He was unlucky because he just didn’t have the papers. It made the climb very difficult, and that’s why he played in the lower level division because he didn’t. was not documented, ”Fader said.
Growing up, Giannis shared shoes with his brother Thanasis. It was something that followed him even after he arrived in Milwaukee.
“Rookie year with Milwaukee, the team would only give him dozens and dozens of shoes and he just refused to wear them. He wanted to wear the same pair over and over again. As someone who had to share a shoe with his brother. , he couldn’t stand the thought of being so frivolous to have so many shoes, ”Fader said.
Now he is living his dream and playing for a championship. Almost ten years ago, Giannis told TMJ4’s Lance Allan that he wanted to make those he left behind in Greece proud.
“It’s a unique, unique emotion, because you know that all the people in Greece in their homes are going to talk about it, me and my brother, you know,” Giannis said in 2013.
Fader’s book on Giannis will be released in August.
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