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Editorial

Giannis Realizes the American Dream and Inspires the World

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks closed out the Phoenix Suns in six games during the 2020-2021 NBA Finals. Giannis put on an NBA Finals show that will be remembered through the ages as he put up an otherworldly 50 points against the Suns in the penultimate Game 6, title-sealing victory. 

The championship marked the first time that the Bucks ascended to the very top of the NBA world in 50 years. More importantly, for Greeks all over the world it was a surreal moment watching Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time reigning NBA MVP, not only winning his first championship, firmly staking his place as one of the greatest Greek athletes of all-time, but also winning the MVP of the finals.

Sepolia’s very own Giannis and his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Thanasis was restricted to his hotel for COVID quarantine) have won over millions of supporters with their profound humility, grace, and unquestionable elite skill in the case of Giannis. Giannis, fittingly and totally within character, moments after clinching his first title, surely up there in terms of the greatest moments of his life alongside the birth of his child, rushed to go hug and soak up the moment with his family.

That’s the type of person Giannis is. That’s why it is an honor for all of us Hellenes that this special athlete and even more special human being, by chance, happens to be Greek. He makes an impact in the community, he makes people’s lives better, and does what he does for a living with a smile on his face, all the while counting his blessings and keeping himself grounded, not letting fame and fortune get to his head.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are truly witnessing greatness, the likes of which we have not seen in a long time and perhaps might not see again. The unique combination of Giannis’ character, work ethic, tight-knit family, and sheer will to make himself better each day is an inspiration to every person out there who believes that their dreams might be just a bit out of reach.

Giannis and his family went from selling items on the streets of Athens, not having enough to eat on a consistent basis, dealing with overt racism in Greece during his upbringing to being showered with champagne by his teammates in the locker room at the Fiserv Forum, not going to sleep and pulling up to a Chick-fil-A whilst on Instagram Live having the time of his life with his two new trophies in his lap. We can all learn so much from this young man who is already a father, a franchise NBA player, an NBA champion, Sepolia’s financial benefactor, and so much more – and he has yet to turn 27.

This humble man from Greece has a story that resonates with all of us in the Greek diaspora: underappreciated, chased away to some extent from the homeland only to find his ‘Ithaka’, as Cavafy put it, in the United States. Giannis, raised by immigrant parents, arrived in the United States drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks. He would send all of his earnings back to his family in Greece and get picked up by fans who would recognize him walking or running to the arena to play for an NBA team. Giannis is the Greek immigrant who came to America, never changed himself, and in the process added to the great American melting pot and became the greatest. May his fortune long continue and may he never change. Bravo Giannis, we are immensely proud of your accomplishments and who you are as a person.

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