Giannis Antetokounmpo’s parents are Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo. They were former athletes from Nigeria who migrated to Europe in the early 90s and settled in Greece where they raised their kids. While Giannis’ father, Charles, who died in 2017 belonged to the Yoruba ethnic group, his mother Veronica belongs to the Igbo ethnic group; these are two of the three major ethnicities in Nigeria.
Giannis got his athletic prowess from his parents as his father was a soccer player while his mother was a high jumper. His parents also encouraged his athletic pursuits despite the tough times they faced as migrants. The journey of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s parents and other members of his family is captured in Rise, a 2022 biographical sports drama film. The movie directed by Akin Omotoso traced the challenges the Antetokounmpo family faced after they left Nigeria for Greece in search of a better life.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Father Charles Antetokounmpo was a Soccer Player
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s father is Charles Antetokounmpo, a Nigerian former soccer player who died on the 29th of September 2017 at the age of 54. While official records of his date of birth are not available to the public, based on the date he died, one can conclude he was born sometime in 1963.
Charles was born and raised in Nigeria where he met and got married to his wife Veronica. Details of how they met and fell in love are hard to come by. But given that they were both athletes, it is possible that it played a significant role in their love story. After Charles had his first child with Veronica, they left him in Nigeria and migrated to Greece where they had four more children.
His Mom Veronica Antetokounmpo was a High Jumper
The surviving among Giannis Antetokounmpo’s parents, Veronica was born in Nigeria on the 7th of April 1964. She is 58 years old at the moment. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Mom Veronica Antetokounmpo belongs to the Igbo ethnic group and was a high jumper before she left Nigeria for Greece in 1991 alongside her late husband Charles Antetokounmpo.
Apart from her career as a high jumper, Veronica has over the years done several other jobs to support her family. Alongside her famous son, she appeared as a refugee in Dead Europe, a 2012 Australian drama film directed by Tony Krawitz. It is said that she enjoyed the role as it reflected the life of her family after they left Nigeria for Europe.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Parents are Originally from Nigeria
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s parents are not from Greece. They are originally from Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa. They came from two of the three major ethnic groups in the country. While Giannis Antetokounmpo’s father was from the Yoruba tribe, his mother Veronica Antetokoumpo belongs to the Igbo tribe. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s parents were talented athletes in their heydays.
Despite this, they struggled to make a decent living in Nigeria. This drove them to leave the West African nation for Europe. When Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo left Nigeria for Greece in search of a better life, they had to leave their oldest son named Francis behind in Nigeria. It was difficult to carry him along when they don’t know what the future held for them.
They Later Migrated to Greece in 1991
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s parents migrated to Greece in 1991 with great hopes. They soon learned that while living in Europe had many prospects and opportunities, it was also difficult. The couple faced all sorts of challenges in the quest to break free from poverty. Things were made more difficult by the fact that they were undocumented immigrants and unable to get visas. They lived in hiding for about a decade but around 2004, they had settled down to some extent.
But even at that, Charles and Veronica were not granted citizenship. This was also true for the additional four sons that they had in Greece. The restrictive laws made it impossible for Thanasis, Giannis, Kostas, and Alexandros to get legal citizenship. Thus the Antetokounmpo family continued to live in fear of deportation. Things began to turn around for the family when Giannis was granted Greek citizenship in 2013. This made it possible for him to move to the United States of America where he began playing for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA.
Success has a way of opening difficult doors. After Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to the NBA championship in July 2021, the prime minister of Greece organized a special ceremony to bestow Greek citizenship on his mother Veronica Antetokounmpo, and younger brother Emeka Alex Antetokounmpo. During the ceremony, the prime minister revealed that honorary Greek citizenship was in recognition of Greek families that have managed to overcome difficulties and stay together despite the struggles they faced. But unfortunately, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s father wasn’t around to witness this as he had died four years earlier.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Parents Have Five Children Together
Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo gave birth to five children, all males. The couple had their first child Francis Antetokounmpo in Nigeria before they immigrated to Greece. They left Francis with his grandparents in Nigeria but he has since been reunited with his family.
Francis Olowu Ofili Antetokounmpo was born on the 20th of October 1988 and is currently 34 years old. According to reports, Francis is a music artist who once played professional soccer in Nigeria and in Greece.
The remaining of Charles and Veronica Antetokounmpo’s children, in the order they were born, are Thanasis (b. 18th of July 1992), Giannis (b. 6th of December 1994), Kostas (b. 20th of November 1997), and Alex Antetokounmpo (b. 27th of August 2001). Apart from Francis, all the Antetokounmpo brothers are professional basketball players.
What Happened to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Father?
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s father Charles Antetokounmpo died of cardiac arrest at the age of 54. Years before his death, he had left Greece for the United State and lived with his family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Records have it he died on the 29th of September 2017. His death was unexcepted and left his family with a deep sense of loss.
Charles was buried in Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Following his death, his family shared with the public how he had been a great husband and father. Speaking about his late father, Giannis related that Charles was always there for his kids and cared for nothing except their happiness. According to the NBA star, Charles was contented with seeing his children succeed.