Giannis Antetokounmpo was not allowed to play in Greece’s Division 1 basketball league as he wasn’t a Greek citizen.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most dominant players the league has ever seen. Rightfully nicknamed “The Greek Freak”, the Bucks forward is a tough force to reckon with on both sides of the paint. Being a two-way superstar, Giannis is well-equipped with all the abilities to be a pest on the defensive end and score points at will, offensively.
Almost a decade into being an NBA pro, Giannis has already put up an incredible Hall-Of-Fame type resume. Over a span of 9 years, the 6-foot-11 beast has made 6 All-Star appearances, 6 All-NBA selections, 5 All-Defensive selections, won the 2017 MIP, 2 MVPs, a DPOY, and 1 NBA championship along with the Finals MVP.
Giannis was drafted 9 years ago today. He already has an all time resume:
— NBA champ
— 2x MVP
— 6x All-NBA
— 5x All-Defensive
He’s only 27. pic.twitter.com/3rJMcZDT7o
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 27, 2022
However, in order to see the success he has been witnessing today, Giannis has come a long, long way.
Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 9.5/5/1.4 as an 18 y/o in Greece’s Division 2 league
Giannis is the son of Nigerian immigrants. Despite being born in Greece, the Antetokounmpo brothers were always considered as foreigners.
Since they weren’t Greek citizens, Giannis was not allowed to play in Greece’s top-most division.
Instead, the then-18-year-old had to suit up for Filathlitikos AO, a Division II team in Greece. During the 2012-2013 season, despite being the youngest player on the roster, Antetokounmpo had a terrific year. Playing 22.5 minutes per game, he averaged 9.5 points, 5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1 block per game while shooting at an efficient 46.4% from the field and 72% from the charity stripe.
At one point in that season, Filathlitikos played against Nea Kifisia in a crucial game. This tie would determine which of the two would be promoted to the top Greek division. In an important clash, in front of several NBA scouts, the 18-year-old ended up scoring merely 4 points as his team faced an 89-81 double overtime loss.
In less than two months, the Milwaukee Bucks picked Giannis with their 15th pick in the 2013 draft… And the rest is history.