Giannis Antetokounmpo was the star man as Milwaukee Bucks became champions again, winning the 2021 NBA to add a second championship to the one they claimed back in 1971.
Antetokounmpo had 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots as the Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns 105-98 on Tuesday night to win the series 4-2.
This was the third game in this series in which the Greek has scored at least 40 points and had 10 rebounds. His dominant performances, from his Game 3 block to Game 4 alley-oop, saw him named NBA Finals MVP.
He shot 16 for 25 from the field and made an unbelievable 17-of-19 free throws — a spectacular performance for any shooter, let alone one who was hitting just 55.6% in the postseason and was ridiculed for it at times.
Antetokounmpo was named the Finals MVP to join Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in NBA history to win a regular-season MVP Award, a Finals MVP Award and a Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In his post-game press conference, the Nigerian basketballer dedicated his feat to Nigeria.
“I represent my both countries Nigeria and Greece, a lot of kids from there, this should make every person, every kid to believe in their dreams,” he said.
Giannis was born and raised in Athens to Nigerian parents Charles and Veronica Detokunbo, who moved to the European country from Lagos in 1993.
The now NBA champion hugely identifies with his Nigerian roots and in 2015 got his Nigerian passport.
“They call me ‘The Greek Freak’ and a lot of people support me and all that [in Greece]. A lot of people don’t know that I love my Nigerian side,” the Milwaukee Bucks star told The Undefeated.
“The minute I go back home and walk in — my mom is Nigerian, I don’t have Greek in my house, so a lot of Nigerian people reaching out to me — was amazing. It made me feel welcome, so that was nice.”
“My parents are Nigerian. When I go back home, it’s Nigerian. Nigeria is in my blood,” he also said.
Giannis understands little Igbo, the language of his mother. His dad Charles who died in 2017, is of Yoruba origin.
Antetokounmpo has never been to Nigeria, but has been planning a trip to his parents’ country.
“I want to see where my family comes from, where my mom was raised, see my family, see where my dad was raised,” he once told The Undefeated.
He is also planning to shoot a documentary after his homecoming when it happens.