What if I told you there was an NBA player growing up in Greece, his parents had to flee war, and he and his brother sold CDs on the streets of Greece to make ends meet. That is exactly the story of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Born in Greece in 1994, Giannis and his brother Thanasis both loved basketball. So much so that they sometimes forget to wear their shoes at the local gym playing pick-up with friends.

Despite adversity growing up in Greece, Giannis was determined to be able to advance his dream of one day playing in the NBA. That day finally came in 2013 when the Milwaukee Bucks used their 15th overall pick on Giannis. This is only the beginning of a difficult road, however.

Earlier in his career, Giannis and his family faced several visa issues, and the family even contemplated moving to the US. This was especially troubling as the US found the Antetokounmpo family had violated the US three-strike rule twice before. The US three-strike rule is when families who wish to immigrate to the United States have their visa denied twice, the third time denying them entry into the United States.

In an article in 2018 by the New York Times, it was revealed that you honestly didn’t even want to pay the cable bill, which was only $20 at the time.

In an interview with ESPN where this topic was brought up, Giannis was quoted as saying, “So, just growing up and going through life and how tough life was for me and my family, I’m always going to stay humble,” “Even now, it doesn’t really matter if I’ve got a $100 million contract or a $100 million Nike contract, it’s the way I grew up, it’s the way I go through life. I’m not changing.” Certainly a positive outlook on a rather sad situation.

Since his debut in the NBA in 2013, he has been the recipient of many of the league’s most prestigious awards, such as NBA’s most valuable player for 2021 and 2022, respectively, and finals MVP. He is also an NBA champion with his team, the Milwaukee Bucks, who won in 2021 against the Phoenix Suns.

His brother Thanasis is also an NBA champion, having won with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. Certainly a happy ending for “the Greek freak” and his family.