Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP

Hachette. Aug. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780306924125. $30. SPORTS
The astounding story of Giannis Antetokounmpo (b. 1994), the Greek NBA megastar, has been well-documented, but never with as much detail as in this new biography. Fader, a staff writer for The Ringer, has written the comprehensive account of the athlete’s journey to becoming the highly versatile MVP he is today. Watching the 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo slash and Euro-step his way through NBA defenses in 2021, it's easy to forget that as a teen he despised basketball and instead harbored dreams of soccer stardom. Giannis and his three brothers (two of whom have joined him in the NBA) were raised in Athens by Nigerian immigrants and came of age in a Greece experiencing economic collapse and the rise of ultra-nationalism. This account captures Antetokounmpo the man and basketball player, but it’s not just a story of unlikely stardom: it also tells an immigration story spanning three continents, as well as a story about what basketball means to a small city like Milwaukee.
VERDICT Though the narrative is occasionally slowed by an overabundance of detail, the depth of Fader's research and the uniqueness of Antetokounmpo's story make this a compelling read. Basketball fans will love it all, especially with Giannis becoming a star player for the Milwaukee Bucks.
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