NBA star Giannis journeys to his roots in Nigeria in new documentary: How to watch

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo has accomplished a lot on the basketball court, most notably winning an NBA championship and two NBA MVP awards in his 10-year career.

During the past offseason, the 29-year-old Milwaukee Bucks forward fulfilled a lifelong achievement: a visit to Nigeria, the home of his mother, Veronica, and late father, Charles. His parents moved from Lagos, Nigeria to Athens, Greece in 1991, for career opportunities. In Nigeria, "it was very hard to get a job," Charles Antetokounmpo told NPR in 2013. He died of a heart attack at the age of 54, in 2017.

Immigrating to Greece, the parents left their firstborn son, Francis, with his grandparents. The reason? "This is going to take us to a greater place in the future,” his mother, Veronica, told Yahoo! Sports in 2022. “Then, this is where we are now today. We are very amazing."

Older brother Thanasis also plays for the Bucks – he was part of the Bucks' NBA 2021 title-winning squad along with Giannis – and younger brother Alex currently plays for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ NBA G League team. Another brother, Kostas, who won an NBA championship in 2020 with the Lakers, is now playing basketball in Greece.

Giannis Antetokounmpo
NBA star Giannis journeys to his roots in Nigeria in new documentary: How to watch 1

A new documentary, "Ugo," produced in partnership with WhatsApp, captures the NBA star's trip to Nigeria in August, accompanied by his mother. The 31-minute film's title comes from Antetokounmpo’s Nigerian birth name. The documentary, directed by Rick Famuyiwa ("The Mandalorian"), is available to stream globally for free on YouTube.

The film follows Antetokounmpo meeting family and immersing himself in the scene meeting kids on the basketball court and soccer pitch, dancing, dining, and meeting cousins, uncles, aunts and other relatives. "A lot of people know that I represent the Greek national team, and they call me 'The Greek Freak,' but they've never seen this side of me," he told USA TODAY. "My parents are Nigerian. When I was growing up ... it was a Nigerian household. I grew up in Nigerian culture."

Having his mother along made the trip special, Antetokounmpo says. She was "a great storyteller," he said, relating "everything about the things that they experienced and how hard (his parents') journey was, from Nigeria going to Greece and how their life was."

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