Giannis Antetokounmpo entered the league as a young raw talent, but through the years he became the MVP and a Top-5 player in the league.
The reigning MVP talked on ESPN Wisconsin in a radiothon with his teammate Pat Connaughton about his nickname and when people started calling him the “Greek Freak”.
“I don’t remember the first time I heard about it – it was probably my rookie year – but I really don’t know who came up with it,” he said. “I just went on the court one day and I had like a crazy dunk or a crazy block and after that everyone started calling me the Greek Freak. So it stuck by me, I love it and it’s a cool nickname,” Antetokounmpo said, per ESPN.
Antetokounmpo acknowledged that his basketball moniker does not represent the way he percepts his “laid back” personality off the court.
“The most important thing is you cannot lose yourself in it. There’s a lot of pressure, there’s a lot of things that are going to try to pull you from ‘come this way, do this.’ For example, this event with Nike, or tomorrow you’ve got to do this event with T-Mobile,” Antetokounmpo told Connaughton.
“Like, there’s so many things that you’re going to have in front of you that you’ve got to do, but you’ve just got to be able to balance your personal life with the Greek Freak life. Giannis and the Greek Freak are two different people. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant – I’m not trying to sound arrogant – but that’s how I’m trying to think. I’m trying to think when I’m with my family, I’m with my family. Sometimes when you’re the MVP, you’re the leader of the team, you’ve got to do a photo shoot and all that, you lose yourself, and whenever I’m with my family, I’m myself.”
The full episode: