Greek-Nigerian basketball player and Milwaukee Bucks small forward, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, says he’s ready to help young players in Nigeria reach their potential in the game, after visiting the country for the first time, The PUNCH reports.
At a basketball clinic for school pupils at GreenSprings School, Lekki, Lagos on Thursday, the 2021 NBA champion engaged the young players in a brainstorming session, before also taking to the court with them.
During the first session, Antetokounmpo touched on his background and also fielded questions from the chaps about his development.
“I will be honest with you, it took me three minutes to adjust the moment I landed at the airport because everyone looks like me. Everyone looks like my family and I’m happy to be back here in Nigeria,” Antetokounmpo said.
“My family is my motivation because we are sports people. I like basketball and my family are sports people. My father played football and my mom was into athletics. I didn’t do anything differently to be where I am, the only thing that is different is the opportunity and talent.
“The key thing and the difficult part is not how to play basketball, but once you begin to play, you must be disciplined and be ready to make the sacrifices.
“I understand basketball gave me the platform and the opportunity to do whatever I want to do in life. I say it all the time, it really changed my life,” he told the pupils.
On the court, the player took on the pupils in shooting and the best set of players from the session played against him one-on-one in offence and defence.
One of the pupils, Kisho Uoryoho of GreenSprings School, who had a replica of the Antetokounmpos’ basketball shoes, said he was one of his idols in the game.
“I’m a big fan of the Antetokounmpos and seeing him in person is a big motivation. One thing I’ve learned from Thanasis is the belief in oneself and work ethic. That brought him this far, and it could work for me as well,” Uoryoho said.
Antetokounmpo and his brothers were born to a Yoruba father and an Igbo mother in Greece.
He is the older brother of Milwaukee Bucks star and two-time NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo. They both won the NBA together in 2021.
Their two other younger brothers, Kostas and Alex are also professional basketball players.