After the recent Euroleague matchup between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos, a Greek TV personality, Takis Tsoukalas, a supporter of Olympiacos, insulted Panathinaikos’ forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis’ older brother, calling him a monkey. This situation created a lot of noise during the last few days.
Today, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis’ younger brother and Milwaukee Bucks superstar, decided to defend and support his brother with a long post on Instagram, entirely written in Greek. Giannis’ post was very emotional and very supportive of his brother:
“Above everything, Thanasis I want to apologize to you. Because I know that what I’ll write will attract attention to you, which is something I know you don’t want. However, I’m sure that if dad was here, he would be very disappointed if I chose to keep quiet. I’ve lost sleep the past days because of the racist incident which took place recently. If this could happen to Thanasis, who proudly represents the Greek National Team and Panathinaikos always having a smile, then I can’t imagine what happens to other people of color in Greece. I am deeply saddened and disappointed. However, we must not let negative comments alter our family and our love for the country, in which we grew up. I and my brothers are Greek/Nigerians and that’s it. We will continue to represent our home country in the best way possible”
Giannis and his brothers grew up in Greece after their parents, both Nigerians, moved there to find work opportunities. They struggled to have economic stability and they lived in poverty for most of their childhood, trying to help their parents selling sunglasses, watches, and bracelets on the street. The kids only received Greek citizenship when they turned 18, so they lived without documents for years, legally considered as ‘immigrants’.