The game was enthralling and justly the whole planet bowed before this incredible player.
His words after winning the title were deeply moving. He spoke about his family, his childhood years, his great journey from the Athens suburb of Sepolia to Milwaukee, his beloved team, and the hard work that took a young man whose life several years ago was a struggle for survival to the top.
He cited his own example in calling upon young people around the world to believe in their dreams. He shouted, joked, cried, and was impassioned.
He was lionised.
Greece today is proud of Yannis Antetokounmpo, but it was not always thus. As he said last year, drawing a barrage of curses and racist attacks from various brainless people, “It is difficult growing up in a country of white people.”
Yannis experienced hard times, even hunger. The state gave him Greek citizenship only once it was clear that he was destined for great things abroad – even though he was born here and was educated in a Greek school.
Yet, he has not a shred of bitterness. He never said a bad word about the country in which he was born and raised. On the contrary, he was and remains Greece’s best ambassador.
We must remember this. We must honour our young people, not just their glories.
It is high time that we abandon for good the slogan that one is born Greek and cannot become one.