Giannis: “No one can say I am not Greek. That is all I know”
Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo appeared on stage at the Onassis Cultural Center and talked about their painful struggle in their early days in Greece where their parents had arrived as immigrants from Nigeria.
“We are the products of two cultures, Greek and Nigerian, and we took the best of both worlds,” Giannis said.
“There are many people who have gone through tough times, but you still have to look for the light. Our parents taught us not to be selfish, to be honest and sincere,” Thanasis added.
In a question asking on how you must believe in yourself Giannis responded “I don't want to be arrogant, but you cannot think you are average, but rather that you are the best. I want to be a champion, I want to become the MVP, I want to be one of the top 50 players of all time, I want to be the best basketball player of all time.”
As for his Greek background, Giannis stated “No one can say that I am not Greek. I am Greek. I do not know anything else other than Greece. I have never gone to Nigeria, however in the future, I will go and help the kids of Africa.”
Thanasis added “People ask me why I am always smiling and I answer them, I laugh a lot because I grew up always worrying.” He touched on racism stating “There isn't racism in Greece, but hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is worse. In the United States you can be a racist but you don't hide it, that is who you are.
I saw a comment on Facebook, where someone said ‘they are not Greek’ and I met the same guy in Glyfada and he came with his child and told me ‘you all make Greeks proud abroad, bravo.’ I simply put his kid on my shoulders and took a picture and I told him ‘You made your kid’s day, it was his best day yet.’”