Sometimes one family just produces a lot of talent. In the Antetokounmpo family, there are five brothers, and they all are skilled athletes. They’ve always pushed each other, and this continues for several of them in the NBA.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the most famous of the bunch, but all of the brothers have such a tight bond that you can’t really talk about one without the others.
There are five brothers: Francis, Thanasis, Giannis, Kostas, and Alex, ranging in age from 17 to 31. They grew up playing basketball together in Greece and most now play in the U.S. Here’s a little about each one:
Born in 1988, Francis is the only brother not born in Greece. He spent his early years in Nigeria and lived with his grandparents after his parents moved to Greece in 1991. He’s played professional soccer both in Greece and Nigeria.
Born in 1992, Thanasis began playing professionally for a Greek basketball club. He played the 2013-14 season for the Delaware 87ers and then three seasons with the Westchester Knicks. After briefly appearing in two Knicks games in 2016, Thanasis played for three years in Spain and Greece. He joined the Milwaukee Bucks alongside Giannis in July 2019.
Born in 1994, Giannis is the most famous and athletically gifted brother. The “Greek Freak” helped the Milwaukee Bucks lead the league in the 2018-19 season, with their first 60-win season since 1981. Giannis had an excellent season, averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game and being named the NBA Most Valuable Player.
Born in 1997, Kostas played one year at the University of Dayton after being redshirted for one season. The Philadelphia 76ers chose him in the 2018 NBA Draft, then he was traded to the Mavericks. Kostas spent a year playing for the Dallas Mavericks’ G League team, the Texas Legends. After the Mavericks waived him, he was signed by the Lakers in July 2019.
The youngest brother, Alex, was born in 2001. He began playing basketball when he was nine and always wanted to be as good as his brothers. Now a high school student in Wisconsin, Alex will graduate in 2020 and is deciding whether to choose a college or play in Europe. Giannis is training him for the NBA as well. Both live in an affluent Milwaukee suburb with their mother and Giannis’ girlfriend.
The Antetokounmpo brothers’ early years
Life hasn’t always been easy for the Antetokounmpo family. Giannis and Thanasis, along with their parents, used to sell DVDs and CDs on the streets in Athens, Greece. When the boys weren’t working, they’d walk five miles to their basketball gym, sharing one pair of shoes and sometimes sleeping there.
Giannis began playing basketball because of his brother Thanasis. “I didn’t choose basketball,” Giannis told SLAM. “Thanasis chose basketball.” The family was always short on money in Greece, and the brothers saw basketball as the way out.
The family moved to the U.S. in 2013 after Giannis was drafted by the Bucks. He was only 18 when he was drafted, so his parents and two younger brothers came to Milwaukee with him. In 2017, their father Charles had a sudden heart attack at age 54 and passed away at home in Milwaukee.
Bonds of brothers
In his MVP speech at the NBA Awards show last June, Giannis thanked his parents and said how important his brothers are to him: “I want to thank my amazing brothers. I love you guys, man. You guys are my ride-or-die. You guys are my role models, man. I look up to you guys.”
Giannis told SLAM that when they were young and playing in Greece, he looked up to Thanasis: “Thanasis, back then, he was the star. A lot of people were talking about Thanasis and obviously I looked up to him. I wanted to be him.” Their tight bond shows up outside of basketball in both business and philanthropy.
Giannis has a signature sneaker, Nike Air Zoom Freak 1, and he involved his family in meetings as Nike designed it. To honor his father, “I am my father’s legacy” is written on the sneaker’s outsole. In addition, his parents’ names are on the sneaker’s medial midsole and his brothers’ names are on the heel.
Giannis said: “It’s all about family with me, man. Whatever I do, I wanted them to be as involved as possible. I wanted them to see what I go through. It’s not just my shoe — it’s my family’s shoe.” Now, the three NBA-playing brothers have a foundation, AntetokounBros Academy, to train kids and coaches in basketball in Athens.