Giannis Antetokounmpo stole the show in Game 6 of the NBA Finals with his dominating performance. But the newly crowned Finals MVP also had help getting into the history books from his siblings. The Antetokounmpo brothers — Giannis, Thanasis, and Kostas — have achieved something no trio of brothers had previously managed to pull off.
The Antetokounmpos aren’t the first family to have at least three siblings play in the NBA. However, the Milwaukee Bucks taking the NBA championship pushes the Greek trio to the top of the class. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the first to play in the NBA, but two brothers followed shortly after that.
The Bucks drafted Giannis Antetokounmpo as a 1st-round project
Few people outside the NBA draft scouting circles had heard of Giannis Antetokounmpo before the Milwaukee Bucks took him in 2013. Born in Greece to parents who emigrated from Nigeria, Antetokounmpo played with Filathlitikos in Greece’s second division. He attracted interest from then-Bucks general manager John Hammond. Milwaukee used the 15th overall pick to grab the 6-foot-9, 196-pound prospect.
As a rookie, Giannis averaged 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in 24.6 minutes per game but showed flashes of greatness for a kid who was only 18 when the season tipped off. In his second season, he was a full-time starter after returning from the offseason at 6-foot-11. In 2015–16, then-Bucks coach Jason Kidd played around with Antetokounmpo at the point guard spot.
It was in his fourth NBA campaign that Antetokounmpo’s star rose dramatically. Named the league’s Most Improved Player in 2016–17, Antetokounmpo set the stage for what was to come. He captured his first All-Star berth to go with All-NBA and All-Defensive recognition for the first time.
Two MVP awards and a Defensive Player of the Year trophy later, Antetokounmpo signed a record $228 million extension in December 2020. Now he’s delivered on his promise to bring a championship to Milwaukee.
His brothers followed him to the NBA as Giannis’ star was rising
Despite being two years older than Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis didn’t make it to the NBA until 2016. The elder Antetokounmpo was a second-round pick of the New York Knicks in 2014. However, he didn’t sign with the Knicks until August 2015. Cut at the end of training camp, Thanasis got the call from the Knicks on a 10-day contract. He appeared in two games and logged six points in six minutes of action.
After playing in Greece for two seasons, Antetokounmpo returned to the NBA in 2019, joining Giannis with the Bucks.
Giannis and Thanasis are now part of NBA history. The Antetokounmpos are the first trio of brothers to win NBA championships, per Reuters.
Younger brother Kostas took a different route to the NBA. He played one season at Dayton before entering the 2018 NBA Draft.
Kostas was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on draft night and signed a two-way contract. He was waived and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in July 2019. Kostas earned a ring as a reserve for the bubble champs in 2020. Giannis joked about Kostas being the first, per Arash Markazi of The Mightier 1090 AM in San Diego.
“A lot of people were joking last year when Kostas won his championship with the Lakers. Obviously, at the dinner table, it was a little bit awkward because he got his ring before me.”Giannis Antetokounmpo after Game 6 of the NBA Finals
With Giannis and Thanasis joining Kostas with championship hardware, that awkwardness should subside.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers are not unique in NBA history
Giannis Antetokounmpo and his siblings are the first trio of brothers to win NBA titles. But brothers are far from rare in NBA history. As of January 2021, there were nine sets in the league, per The Associated Press.
Trios are a bit rarer. Jon, Brent, and Drew Barry all spent time in the NBA, as did Campy, Frank, and Walker Russell before them. Jrue, Justin, and Aaron Holiday join the Antetokounmpos as the only current trio.
But there is still one family that tops the Antetokounmpos for now. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Jones family had four siblings in the NBA. Caldwell Jones was the most accomplished, but brothers Charles, Major, and Wil all had lengthy careers.
Maybe Giannis Antetokounmpo can work with his 19-year-old brother Alex so they can keep up with the Joneses.