Basketball: Nigerian-born African-born NBA contract holder

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has decided to stay loyal to the Bucks. The Greek formalized on Tuesday his decision to sign a five-year contract extension, against 228 million dollars (more than 150 billion FCFA), making it the biggest contract in the history of the league. The Greek Freak therefore remains in Wisconsin despite the possibility of being a free agent in 2021.

Free agent during the summer of 2021, the « Greek Freak » was ardently desired by many franchises ready to welcome him with open arms (Dallas, Miami, Golden State or even Toronto had been cited). But instead, he initialed the biggest contract in NBA history, the « supermax » to the tune of $ 228 million over five years thanks to his individual record already widely supplied at just 26 years old. He will receive up to $ 51.9 million in the 2025-2026 season, on which he however has an option to become free.

« This is my home, my city, » the interior responded. « I am blessed to be able to be a Milwaukee Bucks player for the next five years. Let’s make those years count. » Already in 2018, Antetokounmpo imagined a long-term destiny with Milwaukee, taking as an example basketball references that have only evolved for one franchise throughout their career. « Kobe did it. Tim Duncan did it. Dirk Nowitzki did it. I want to be one of those players who stay for the city, and who play for this city for 20 years. »

The league’s two-time reigning MVP, also voted best defender last season, will now try to emulate these legends by taking his franchise to the NBA title. Leader of the Eastern Conference after a beautiful 2019-2020 regular season, the training of coach Mike Budenholzer had stumbled in the conference semifinals in the Orlando bubble against the Miami Heat, future finalist. The story would be beautiful as his bond with the Bucks is strong, and at a time when super-teams are more legion than loyalty to a single jersey.

Giannis is of Nigerian father and mother, Charles and Veronica Adetokunbo moved from Lagos to Greece in 1991 in hopes of a better future for themselves and their family after struggling to find a job. The Adetokunbo had four more sons, all born in Greece, including Giannis on December 6, 1994. (Antetokounmpo became Giannis’ last name after it was spelled this way on his Greek passport instead of his birth name, Adetokunbo). Adetokunbo is a surname of Yoruba origin and meaning « king / crown / overseas royalty » or « king / crown / royalty of a foreign land ».

Antetokounmpo grew up in Greek culture, learning the language, going to school and eventually starting to play basketball at the age of 7. But when he was at home with his family, he learned and lived the Nigerian way.

Sources: Eurosport, Wikipedia

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