A Greek-Nigerian named Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo plays professional basketball for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks (NBA).
Antetokounmpo is known as the “Greek Freak” on the basketball court due to his Greek heritage, exceptional physical attributes, and ability to handle the ball. He is a top player in the NBA and consistently ranks high in MVP voting.
Antetokounmpo was born to Nigerian immigrants who settled in Athens, and he first played basketball with the Filathlitikos minor teams. Starting in 2011, he played for the senior squad before entering the 2013 NBA draft and being picked 15th overall by the Bucks.
In 2016–17, he led the Bucks in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocks, becoming the first player in NBA history to do so in a single regular season.
Greece’s 90-69 victory over Estonia on Wednesday was marred by the departure of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is representing his country at the EuroBasket championship. Antetokounmpo appeared to have suffered an ankle injury during the game.
After the game, Antetokounmpo underwent ice and treatment, and head coach Dimitrios Itoudis told the Associated Press that “it’s all OK” and that Antetokounmpo will not return.
Giannis on the Greek bench with ice on his knee. Game is over for him pic.twitter.com/1iTqPlbk3f
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) September 8, 2022
According to the AP, Antetokounmpo left the court with a noticeable limp but still celebrated with his team and shook hands with the Estonian players and coaches. Information on the illness was expanded upon by Harris Stavrou and Eric Nehm of The Athletic not long after it had occurred.
Antetokounmpo has been having issues with his right knee, so after leaving the game he iced it. In only 19 minutes of action, he finished with 25 points. Despite claiming it was “nothing major,” the Greek team decided to sit the 27-year-old out of Monday’s EuroBasket game versus Great Britain due to knee pain. His knees and back have been hurting him, but an MRI in August showed nothing wrong.
He came back on Tuesday when the team played Ukraine. Antetokounmpo has missed 10 or more regular-season games in each of the last four seasons, despite his reputation for physical prowess. In 2021-22, he sat out 15 games.
Giannis was telling to the medical staff that he tweaked his ankle on that play. It's not his knee, as Eric correctlyy pointed out. https://t.co/75iwigyfiB
— Harris Stavrou (@harris_stavrou) September 8, 2022
The six-time NBA All-Star is among the league’s top players. Last season, he shot 55.3 percent from the floor and scored a career-high 29.9 points per game, while also contributing 11.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.4 blocks.
A career like Antetokounmpo’s deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He’s the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, the 2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and the 2021 NBA Finals MVP after leading the Bucks to the NBA title. He hasn’t even reached his prime yet, and he’s 27.
Thankfully, Antetokounmpo’s ankle issue doesn’t look to be significant, and his knee didn’t stop him from dominating Wednesday. With Greece having finished first in their group with a perfect 5-0 record, his next chance to play will be this coming Sunday in the round of 16.
Antetokounmpo’s early contributions were crucial, as he was recognized as the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Month in October, November, and December, as well as February. Antetokounmpo scored 52 points and grabbed 16 rebounds against the 76ers on March 17, a game the Bucks ultimately lost 130-125.
On April 4, he helped the Bucks secure the Eastern Conference’s top seed by scoring 45 points and grabbing 13 boards in a 128-122 victory over the 76ers, avenging an earlier loss to the team.
The Bucks finished the season with a 60-22 record thanks to Antetokounmpo’s leadership. Scored 41 points in Game 4 as the Bucks swept the Detroit Pistons 127-104 to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001. After winning the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bucks were eliminated by the eventual champion Toronto Raptors, 4 games to 2.
Antetokounmpo won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award at this year’s NBA Awards ceremony. He became the second Bucks player (after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) to win MVP, and the third youngest player (after Derrick Rose and LeBron James) to win the award in the previous 40 seasons.
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