Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo started playing for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013, where his size, speed and ball-handling skills led to him being called the 'Greek Freak'. The Giannis nickname grew popularity over the years, becoming synonymous with the Bucks star's name. In a recent interview, the 25-year-old star revealed that he likes the Giannis nickname, but is not aware of its origin.
Giannis was on ESPN Radio Wisconsin on Thursday (Friday IST), where he discussed his nickname the 'Greek Freak'. Giannis revealed that he has no recollection of the first time he heard it and it must have been during his rookie campaign. He also does not know who came up with it. Giannis recalled an incident where he had a 'crazy dunk' or a 'crazy block', after which people started referring to him as the 'Greek Freak'. The nickname stuck with him and thinks it is cool.
However, Giannis only averaged 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists during his rookie year in the league. He had received only one vote for the NBA Rookie of the Year award and made it to the All-Rookie second team. Now, Giannis is averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game and is the reigning NBA MVP. This season, he led the Bucks to a league-leading 53-12 win-loss record.
Giannis further explained how he felt about the nickname, stating that it is important not to lose yourself in the name. He is aware of all the pressure that comes with the name and there are multiple things which will make him feel owned. He gave the example of an event with Nike or T-mobile, saying that there are many things one will have to do, but he needs to separate the 'Greek Freak life' from his personal life. He stated that Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Greek Freak are two completely different people.
He further explained that he hopes he is not sounding arrogant because he does not want to sound like that. He just wants to think that when he is with his family, he is with his family. Giannis added that being the MVP, he is also the leader of the team, and it is easy to lose yourself during the 'photoshoot and all that'.
This is why he tries to be with his family whenever possible. Giannis and girlfriend recently gave birth to their son Liam Charles Antetokounmpo in February and the Bucks star has been spending time with his family since the NBA suspension in March.