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Antetokounmpo: Greek-Nigerian NBA Star Named Greece’s First Black Flagbearer for Olympics

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Giannis Antetokounmpo, the celebrated Greek-Nigerian NBA star, will bear the flag of his naturalised country, Greece, at the 2024 Olympics.

The 29-year-old forward, known for his stellar performances with the Milwaukee Bucks, expressed his profound connection to representing Greece on the global stage, a sentiment rooted in his personal history and unwavering commitment to his country.

Born in Greece to Nigerian parents, Antetokounmpo and his family faced adversity and discrimination in their early years in Sepolia, Athens, before attaining citizenship in 2013, a crucial step that enabled his NBA career to flourish.

Following Greece’s triumphant victory over Croatia in the Olympic qualifying tournament, Antetokounmpo was bestowed with a significant honour by the Hellenic Olympic Committee: he will lead Greece as the flag bearer during the opening ceremonies in Paris on July 26.

This historic appointment marks Antetokounmpo as the first Black athlete to carry Greece’s flag in the Olympic Games, a milestone celebrated both within Greece and across the international sports community.

Reflecting on the honour, Antetokounmpo humbly acknowledged the importance of the moment while emphasizing his gratitude for the support of his coaching staff and teammates.

“That is an honour,” he remarked. “If I am the flagbearer, great. If I am not, OK. I am just happy that I have a good coaching staff and a good team, I am in the Olympics. I just want to go and compete. But I would enjoy every moment.”

Throughout his career, Antetokounmpo has been a beacon of resilience and determination, transcending challenges to become a global basketball icon.

His journey from Sepolia to NBA stardom has not only inspired fans worldwide but also highlighted issues of identity and inclusion in sports.

In 2018, he courageously defended his heritage against racist remarks, affirming his and his family’s Greek-Nigerian identity with unwavering pride.

As Greece prepares to lead the parade of nations due to its storied Olympic history, Antetokounmpo’s selection as flag bearer symbolizes a significant step forward in the country’s recognition of diversity and unity.

With the Tokyo Olympics just weeks away, the world eagerly awaits Antetokounmpo’s leadership both on and off the court, as he continues to inspire a new generation of athletes and advocates for social change through his remarkable journey.

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