Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo, 27, is the fourth highest-paid NBA player, earning $86.5 million according to Forbes NBA highest-Paid Players 2022. His earnings were $42.5 million on the court and $44 million off the court. He is currently a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The 28-year-old Greek-Nigerian NBA superstar was born in Sepolia, Athens, to Nigerian immigrants on December 6, 1994. Life in Sepolia was difficult because his parents couldn’t find steady work. The Greek law prohibiting citizenship by birth exacerbated the situation for him, his siblings, and her parents, who were also undocumented immigrants. To make ends meet, the children assisted their parents in selling goods on the street or at beaches.
Sina Ugo Adetokunbo was his real Nigerian name. After obtaining Greek citizenship in 2013, he changed his name to Antetokounmpo (o), the transliterated (letter-for-letter) Greek version of Adetokunbo.
At the age of 13, Giannis was spotted by a Greek man named Spiros Velliniatis while playing on the street with his siblings. Spiros claimed to have received divine inspiration to pay attention to Giannis. As he ran around the play area, he noticed the young lad’s limbs and athletic ability.
He introduced Giannis and his brothers to Filathlitikos, a medium club in the Athens suburb of Zografou that played in the second division. In 2011, he began playing for Filathlitikos’ senior team, from which he entered the 2013 NBA draft and was selected 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.
When he was named the Most Improved Player in 2017, his success and path to stardom began to take shape. Following that honor, he was named an All-Star six times, including as All-Star captain in 2019 and 2020.
He also won consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, becoming only the third player in NBA history, after Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James, to do so before the age of 26.
His outstanding play earned him a five-year, $228 million supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2020, as well as endorsement deals with Nike, 2K Sports, and Kraken.
- NBA All-Rockie Second Team – 2014
- NBA All-Defensive Second Team – 2017
- NBA Most Improved Player – 2017
- All NBA Second Team – 2017, 2018
- Euroscar Player of the Year – 2018
- NBA Most Valuable Player – 2019, 2020
- NBA Defensive Player of the year – 2020
- NBA Champion 2021
- NBA Finals MVP – 2021
- NBA All-Star Game MVP – 2021
- NBA All-Star Valuable Player – 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
- All-NBA First Team – 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
- NBA All-Defensive First Team – 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
- NBA 75th Anniversary Team
- FIBA EuroBasket Top Scorer – 2022
Of all the top ten earners, Giannis is the only one yet to turn 30. He was the subject of ‘Rise,’ a film released on Disney+ in June.
Others on the top 10 list include:
1. Lebron James (124.5M)
2. Stephen Curry ($95.1M)
3. Kevin Durant ($88M)
5. Russell Westbrook ($82.1)
6. Klay Thompson ($60.6M)
7. Damian Lillard ($60.5M)
8. James Harden ($53M)
9. Paul George ($51M)
10. Jimmy Butler ($49.7)