Born into a Nigerian family who immigrated to Greece in late 1994, Giannis soon suffered the same hardships as millions of other African children in the slums of Europe. The life of immigrants makes Charles Antetokounmpo, Giannis’ father, unable to find stable jobs.
While Veronica, his mother lost the ability to work due to her illness. Mr. Charles has to work with all kinds of jobs, from loading and unloading to street vendors to have money to buy medicine for his wife and raise five children.
During their teenage years, Giannis and his brothers were unable to attend school because of a lack of identification and a poor family background. They and Charles make a living by selling toys, hats, bags, glasses on the streets of Athens.
While selling, Giannis and her brother had to keep an eye on the police who could come and arrest at any time. Until the age of 18, the boy possessing outstanding height still has no citizenship. At that time, administratively, Giannis and her brothers did not exist in the world.
In 2007, at the age of 13, Giannis just started playing basketball. Before that, he just liked football. Thanasis brother was the first to throw the orange ball at Giannis and asked him to play with.
Some time later, Coach Spiros Ve lliniatis went to the Antetokounmpo family to see if Thanasis could be recruited into his club. But Thanasis was gone, and Spiros met only Giannis. Realizing the ideal height of a 15-year-old boy, Spiros tried to persuade Giannis to pursue basketball.
Giannis, in love with football, refused at first. But when Spiros talked about Greek citizenship, about a salary for joining the Filathlitikos youth team, and how he could help Giannis’ parents find work, the boy nodded in agreement.
Years of playing for the Filathlitikos youth team with a stable salary helped Giannis decide to stick with a basketball career. At that time, the dream of one day joining the NBA began to conceive inside Giannis, with the image of number one idol Allen Iverson always in mind.
In 2012, thanks to a height of 2m11, extraordinary fitness and impressive skills, Giannis was called up by the leadership to compete for the Filathlitikos first team, competing in the Greek Second Division. Only 18 years old, but Giannis played mature, participated in Filathlitikos’ 26 games in the secondary position and scored an average of 9.5 points per game.