Antetokounmpo has something to declare on return to Greece
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - Giannis Antetokounmpo definitely had something to announce on his triumphant return to Greece on Sunday.
The NBA star carried the Larry O’Brien Trophy at Athens International Airport and said he hopes to win more titles with the Milwaukee Bucks.
"We are happy to be back and to be able to take the trophy with us," said Antetokounmpo at a press conference at the airport.
The 26-year-old "Greek Freak" sat next to the shiny NBA championship trophy, along with his NBA Finals MVP award and his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 29, who also plays for the Bucks.
"We had to go through a long process (to get the trophy to Greece)," said Giannis Antetokounmpo. "We don't know how many days we're going to stay, but we're taking it with us to the places we grew up in, Sepolia and Zografou."
Sepolia is the Athens neighborhood where the Antetokounmpo brothers grew up. Zografou is the Athens suburb where Giannis began his basketball career with Filathlitikos.
Antetokounmpo has always returned to Sepolia, where he maintained connections with the few people who openly welcomed the children of poor African immigrants from Nigeria at the time. Thanasis and Giannis were born in Greece in 1992 and 1994, respectively, as were their younger brothers Kostas and Alex, but acceptance as Greeks has not always been easy.
The Antetokounmpo brothers plan to return to Sepolia during their current trip to show the trophies to local children who like many other Greeks young and old now adore them. Especially Giannis.
Antetokounmpo said the event will benefit the children, not the media. He and his brother will also play a little basketball on a local open court, though his opponents shouldn't worry too much.
"I'll play as long as my knee can support me ... not very much," Antetokounmpo said, adding that children who want to take part should wear masks.
When asked about his first title, Antetokounmpo said the celebration “didn't last long. I want to live that again ”with a different title. “To keep getting better, stay hungry, keep winning and have moments like this with Milwaukee and the Greek national team. This feeling of winning is addicting. "
Antetokounmpo added that part of his desire to win is "because I'm a crowd-pleaser. I want to win for (son) Liam, my mother, my family, my friends, for Greece.
“I could win the next title next year or in three years. But even if I never win a title again in my life, I will still be fine because that will have been God's plan. "
Giannis and Thanasis aren't the first antetokounmpos to win an NBA championship. Younger brother Kostas, 23, made it first to the Los Angeles Lakers last season, although his contribution was limited. Kostas will play for French club Villeurbanne next season.
After a short stay in Greece, Giannis will return to the USA, where his girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger is expecting her second child at the end of August.
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