Sportblis presents amazing facts about Giannis Antetokounmpo Father (Charles Antetokounmpo), Mother (Veronica Antetokounmpo), Brothers, Girlfriend (Mariah Riddlesprigger), Children, and much more.
Giannis Sina Ugo Adetokunbo is a Greek-Nigerian basketball Power forward who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA. He was born on the 6th of December, 1994, to his parents in Athens, Greece.
The youngster didn’t get a taste of his fatherland in his childhood. He was born three years after his family had moved from Nigeria to Greece.
Despite being born in Greece, Giannis did not automatically receive Greek citizenship. This was due to the Greek nationality law – jus sanguinis – which states that a child’s citizenship is determined by the nationality of one or both parents.
Growing up in a predominantly Nigerian household gave the budding athlete a feel of his family heritage. In the same vein, Giannis learned the culture of Greece by mingling with his peers in the Sepolia neighborhood of Athens.
Difficult Childhood Experience:
We mentioned earlier that Giannis mingled with kids within his neighborhood. But we didn’t reveal the difficult challenges he had to overcome to achieve such a feat.
You see, Giannis used to feel like an outsider to the Greek and Nigerian communities in Athens. His parents’ heritage and his different skin color made him stand out in the Greek community.
On the other hand, his lack of understanding of Yoruba or Igbo languages created a language barrier in connecting with the Nigerian community. To make matters worse, Giannis was stateless for the first 18 years of his life.
He had no papers from Greece or Nigeria and couldn’t travel outside the country. In 2013, just before the NBA draft, Giannis was granted Greek citizenship, ending his stateless status.
With the acquisition of Greek citizenship, his official surname became Antetokounmpo – the Greek transcription of Adetokunbo. Due to difficulties in pronouncing his surname, Giannis quickly became known as the “Greek Freak.”
He subsequently received his Nigerian passport in 2015, granting him Nigerian citizenship. As I write this Biography, Giannis is working on his dual citizenship.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Career Life:
The Power Forward’s basketball journey began in 2007. He played for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens before eventually joining the club’s senior team.
In the 2013 NBA draft, Giannis was selected as the 15th overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. His remarkable combination of size, speed, strength, and ball-handling skills earned him the nickname “Greek Freak.”
Giannis’s had a swift rise to stardom in the NBA. His exceptional prowess was one that pundits and fans couldn’t overlook. It took him a short while before he established himself as a vital force to be reckoned with on the court.
The year 2019 and 2020 saw the iconic player receive the NBA Most Valuable Player Award consecutively. He also clinched the 2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
This made him the third player, alongside Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, to win both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
In the ensuing years of his career, Giannis Antetokounmpo won many other accolades. He even led the Bucks to their first NBA championship in 50 years in 2021 and was awarded the Finals MVP title.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Family & Ethnicity:
The talented athlete hails from a household with humble beginnings. His parents, Charles and Veronica, were born and raised in Nigeria.
In 1992, Giannis Family decided to immigrate to Greece in search of a better life. However, their immigration was illegal, which meant that the Antetokounmpo family lacked legal documentation.
As a result, securing stable employment was challenging for Giannis’s parents. Due to Greece’s economic recession, Giannis and his brothers sold items to tourists on the streets to make ends meet.
Looking into his ancestry, Giannis’s father, Charles, hails from the Yoruba ethnic group in Nigeria. While his mother, Veronica, is of Igbo descent.
The original family name, Adétòkunbọ̀, carries a significant meaning, translating to “the crown has returned from overseas.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo Religion:
What’s more?… Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Christian. Being raised in a family that is rooted in the Greek Orthodox Church gave the NBA star a sense of strong religious commitment.
Giannis and his brother Alex were baptised on the 28th of October 2012 in the Greek Orthodox Church. The influence of his religious upbringing has played a role in shaping his character and values throughout his life and career.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Father – Charles:
The athlete’s dad was a former Nigerian professional football player. He was born on the 3rd of August 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria. Charles enjoyed playing football from a very young age.
Like many footballers in his time, he started from the local leagues in his neighborhood. Despite having a successful career, Giannis’ father couldn’t secure a move to a foreign club.
Hence, he sorted for alternatives that would help him make a living, thus putting an end to his football expedition. In 1991, Charles and his wife left Lagos for Greece, leaving their eldest son Francis in the care of his grandparents.
They hoped to find better employment opportunities and provide a brighter future for their family. The Antetokounmpos settled in Greece, where they went on to have four more sons – Thanasis, Giannis, Kostas, and Alex.
Tragic Death of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Dad:
Charles Antetokounmpo played a pivotal role in shaping his sons’ lives. He instilled in them a sense of responsibility and the importance of family.
Tragedy stroke Giannis’ family on the 29th of September 29, 2017. His dad, Charles Antetokounmpo, passed away at 54 due to a sudden heart attack. His untimely death brought immense challenges and grief to the family.
In the wake of his father’s passing, Giannis established a charity in his honor. The charity was named after Charles and strives to assist those in need in Greece, Nigeria, and the United States.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Mother – Veronica:
The mom of the NBA star was born on the 7th of April 1964 in Nigeria. Judging by her date of birth, she is barely one year younger than her husband.
Veronica Antetokounmpo comes from an Igbo background. The Igbos are one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. They occupy the eastern space of the country and are known for their business and trading skills.
Giannis’ mother had a notable athletic career. She was a former high jumper whose career didn’t see the light of a major breakthrough.
Veronica played a significant role in naming her five sons. She bestowed on them both Greek and Nigerian names. For Giannis, she chose the Nigerian name Ugo (/ˈuːɡoʊ/ OO-goh), adding a cultural touch to his identity.
This thoughtful act reflects Veronica’s desire to honor her Nigerian heritage and the Greek culture. Indeed, Giannis’ mom has supported his career expedition in ways that are inexplicable.
Her athletic background and unwavering strength were useful in raising her talented son from childhood. She is probably the number one fan of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Brothers:
The renowned NBA player hails from a close-knit family with four brothers. His older brothers are Francis (a.k.a Andreas in Greek) and Thanasis, while his younger brothers are Kostas and Alex.
In 2014, the Antetokounmpo family, excluding Francis and Thanasis, relocated from Athens, Greece, to Milwaukee. This move allowed them to be closer to Giannis as he pursued his NBA career.
About two years later, Giannis and Thanasis fulfilled their mandatory military service in Greece. As permanent overseas residents, they completed a reduced three-month military service. Let’s share with you more details about Giannis’ siblings.
Francis is the eldest son of Charles and Veronica. He was born on the 20th of October 1988, making him six years older than Giannis.
During their move to Greece, Francis’s parents made the difficult decision to leave him in Nigeria. This separation marked a challenging period in his life. He would subsequently be reunited with his family after a few years.
From childhood, Francis displayed his athletic talents in basketball and soccer. While not achieving the same level of fame as his younger brothers, he explored various paths to self-discovery.
In addition to sports, Giannis’ older brother also delved into the realm of music. On the 22nd of July 2020, Francis Antetokounmpo released his first single, titled ‘Shekoshi.’ This musical endeavor showcased his creativity which goes beyond the horizons of sports.
The second older brother of Giannis was born in Athens, Greece. Thanasis was also a talented athlete who began his basketball journey with the junior teams of Filathlitikos in 2008.
Over time, he honed his skills and gradually progressed to the senior team. Thanasis declared for the 2013 NBA Draft alongside his brother Giannis. However, he ultimately withdrew from the draft on the deadline day.
The following year, Thanasis was chosen in the second round of the NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. He subsequently had a brief one-season stint with the Delaware 76ers in the NBA G-League.
Sadly, Thanasis’ NBA dreams faced its biggest challenge when the NBA Knicks failed to renew his contract. This phenomenon led him to explore opportunities in Europe.
He eventually played for teams like Andorra and the Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos. In 2019, Giannis’ older sibling (Thanasis) signed with the Milwaukee Bucks.
In a remarkable turn of events, Thanasis achieved a lifelong dream by winning an NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks. He achieved this amazing milestone with his brother Giannis as they became champions together in 2021.
Kostas is the immediate younger brother of Giannis. He also followed in his siblings’ footsteps and began his basketball career with Filathlikos in Athens.
Embracing the sport that runs in the family, Kostas honed his skills alongside his older brothers. In 2013, Kostas decided to move to the United States to pursue high school basketball.
He played a crucial role in leading the Dominican High School basketball team to a championship victory in his senior year. Kostas went on to play college basketball at the University of Dayton.
After his time in college, he declared for the 2018 NBA draft. He was eventually selected in the second round as the 60th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers.
What’s more?… Kostas was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks and signed a two-way deal in his rookie season. This allowed him to gain experience in both the NBA and the G-League.
The ensuing days of his career saw him playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Giannis’ younger brother won an NBA title with the Lakers in 2020, making him the first Greek-born player in NBA history to do so.
As I write this biography, Kostas Antetokounmpo is playing with ASVEL Basket in the French league. He continuously strives to make an impact both on the court and in the global basketball community.
The youngest of the Antetokounmpo brothers also plays basketball. He began his athletic journey after moving to America when Giannis was drafted into the NBA.
Alex attended Dominican High School in Wisconsin like his older brother Kostas. After high school, he chose to forego college and pursue a professional basketball career in Europe.
After gaining valuable experience overseas, he declared for the NBA draft in 2021. Unfortunately, he went undrafted but remained determined to make his mark in the basketball world.
Subsequently, Alex Antetokounmpo signed with the Toronto Raptors’ G-League affiliate, Raptors 905. After a season with Raptors 905, he was traded to the Wisconsin Herd.
As destiny would have it, Alex’s career path led him to join his brothers, Giannis and Thanasis, in the Bucks organization. Now, all three brothers proudly represent the Milwaukee Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Girlfriend – Mariah Riddlesprigger:
The NBA star is not a novice when it comes to relationship matters. Apparently, he has a gorgeous girlfriend turned baby mama since his rise to stardom.
Giannis’s girlfriend is Mariah Riddlesprigger. She is not only known for her athletic achievements but also for her entrepreneurial spirit.
The love birds met a few years after Giannis was drafted into the NBA. They gradually got to know more about themselves and began dating in 2017. Their relationship has seen them supporting each other’s endeavors.
Of course, Mariah continues to support Giannis from the sidelines. She often follows him to the arena to cheer him on game days. Giannis is always grateful to have met such a supportive partner.
Who is Mariah Riddlesprigger, Giannis’ Girlfriend?
Mariah Riddlesprigger was born on the 17th of September, 1992, in Fresno, California. She is an African-American athlete and entrepreneur.
The athlete’s girlfriend attended Bullard High School before pursuing higher education at Rice University in Texas. During her college days, Mariah excelled academically.
She knew how to strike a balance between her athletic and academic endeavors. Interestingly, the damsel bagged a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Management and Sociology, with a minor in business.
Aside from achieving an excellent academic feat, Mariah was an excellent member of the Rice Owls volleyball team. She played as an outside hitter for the team, leading them to numerous victories.
Her dedication and talent led her to be recognized as a Scholar-Athlete. She was also honored with the Junior League Senior Girl Athlete Award, a testament to her skills and commitment.
Guess what… Giannis Antetokounmpo’s girlfriend also participated in track and field events during her time at the university. After college graduation, she embarked on internships that provided valuable experiences in the sports industry.
Mariah Riddlesprigger worked as an intern for the Philadelphia 76ers from May 2015 to June 2016. This opportunity allowed her to connect with influential figures such as ESPN executives and sports agents.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Children:
The relationship between Giannis and his girlfriend was blessed with two kids. The couple welcomed their first son, Liam, into the world on the 10th of February, 2020.
When Liam turned one in 2021, he had the opportunity to attend his first Milwaukee Bucks home game. As a toddler, Liam had memorable experiences watching his dad play.
He even witnessed his father’s performance in the Bucks’ NBA Championship victory in 2021. On the 18th of August 18, 2021, Giannis and Mariah joyfully welcomed their second son, Maverick, into the world.
Three months after Maverick’s birth, the couple organized a diaper drive. They took this step to support many families faced with financial challenges that prevent them from providing essential needs for their children.
At just one year old, Maverick has already shared many special moments with his family. From attending Bucks games alongside his brother Liam to walking the red carpet at the premiere of “Rise.”
In May 2023, Giannis and his baby mama shared delightful news on Instagram. They announced that they were expecting their third child together.
A heartwarming photo showcased the couple, their two sons, and a pink-and-blue balloon arch, symbolizing the anticipation and excitement surrounding the upcoming addition to their family.
Quick Facts About Giannis Antetokounmpo:
|Full Name:||Giannis Sina Ugo Adetokunbo|
|Nickname:||The Greek Freak|
|Date of Birth:||6th of December, 1994,|
|Place of Birth:||Athens, Greece|
|Brothers:||Francis, Thanasis, Kostas, and Alex Antetokounmpo|
|Height:||7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)|
|Weight:||243 lb (110 kg)|