Last night, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s older brother Thanasis made his debut for the New York Knicks. He scored on his only shot, as the Knicks blew out the Suns at home. Thanasis has spent the year on New York’s D-League team, before getting signed to a 10-day deal on Thursday to fill out an empty Knicks roster spot in the absences of Cleanthony Early and Carmelo Anthony. Like his brother, the Greek player is a small forward with some serious bounce.
After the game, Giannis was apparently quite emotional:
He also blasted the following ‘gram:
Thanasis told the New York Post that the “Greek Freak” nickname given to Giannis really applies to all four of the hooping Antetokounmpo brothers. It’s easy to see why the Antetokounmpos are so tightly knit. Before Giannis broke through and started to draw interest from NBA teams, he and his family were living in Greece illegally, and the country refused to grant them passports until Antetokounmpo’s immense potential to lead the national team became clear. Given the family’s tenuous status in Greece, getting to move the entire family over to Milwaukee probably felt like a minor miracle (they have a Herb Kohl assistant running black ops to thank). As a New York Times profile of him revealed, their life in Greece was extremely hard:
Like other immigrants to Greece, his parents struggled to find work. Adetokunbo and his older brother, Thanasis, would help out by hawking watches, bags and sunglasses. In doing so, they jeopardized their roster spots because they were missing practices. They also missed meals.
So, having two brothers in the NBA is tremendous, but there could be another. Kostas is a high school senior reportedly choosing between colleges now. Like his brothers, he’s a combo forward who can jump a little (look at that dunk, below). Four years Kostas’ junior is Alexandros, who, well okay it’s impossible to project anyone from that age but he has a great pedigree.
It’s hard not to root for the #Antetokounbros, with their flair on the court and incredible Horatio Alger-esque story. If we’re lucky, Thanasis will stick with the Knicks and, who knows, maybe Kostas will get into the league soon enough.
Photo via Getty