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Hakeem Olajuwon shares what is the secret connection between him and Giannis Antetokounmpo

giannis & hakeem

Giannis Antetokounmpo stunned the NBA last night with an epic individual performance and secured the second NBA championship in Milwaukee Bucks history. With his 50 point performance, Giannis finally achieved something the majority thought was impossible at the start of this season. His dominant performance in game 6 proves Giannis is a two-time NBA MVP for a reason, and at the age of 26, he is just getting started.

Even though he is known as the Greek Freak because he grew up in Greece, Giannis and his family actually came there from Nigeria, the birthplace of another NBA legend and one of the best centers of all time Hakeem Olajuwon. Even though he was born in Athens, Greece, Giannis never forgot where he came from and always understood his roots. 

A lot of people think my mom or my dad are from Greece, but no. Both of my parents are black. Both of my parents are Nigerian."

Giannis Antetokounmpo, via The Undefeated

In an interview for Undefeated, Hakeem Olajuwon said he and Giannis belong to the same tribe, the Yoruba tribe. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, a country with many historical and cultural heritage. 

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"I know from his last name that we are from the same tribe, the Yoruba tribe. His last name, which in Yoruba is spelled Adetokunbo, means 'the crown has returned from overseas,'" 

Hakeem Olajuwon, via The Undefeated

Giannis always highly spoke of the birthplace of his parents, and even though he was born in Greece and is extremely popular there, Hakeem said Nigerians are also proud of his accomplishments. 

"I'm sure Nigerians are very proud of him, especially because of the way he has conducted himself and how he is dominating the league. "He has accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time."

Hakeem Olajuwon, via The Undefeated

The sky is the limit for Giannis, and there is no question great things are ahead of him in the upcoming years. Even though they come from the same Nigerian tribe, which is one connection between Giannis and Hakeem, another thing makes them stand out. Both of them stuck with their teams through the good and the bad times, and enduring through that is not something many NBA players have done, especially not in today's NBA. 

Giannis showed incredible humility and humbleness throughout the years, which resulted from his background and the way his parents raised him. And he said it the best, "It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals." 


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