Greece-born NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo is embracing his Yoruba roots and educating people about his culture.
The all-star joined comedian Hasan Minhaj in the new WhatsApp original “The Game of Adetokunbo,” where the two discussed their heritage over a game of HORSE on the basketball court. “Adetokunbo” is the 28-year-old’s Yoruba name, which he widely embraces off the court.
The Yoruba people mostly inhabit West Africa, with the majority of them residing in Nigeria. Other popularly known entertainers hail from the Yoruba people, including rapper Wale and Burna boy, who was born to a half-Yoruban mother. Now, Giannis is eager to teach people about this beautiful culture that helped him become the man he is today, even revealing his other first name that many people do not know.
“Most people don’t know that Giannis is not my only first name. Ugo is my Nigerian name, and it’s actually the only name my closest friends and family use on our private WhatsApp chats,” he said in a clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE.
Much of Giannis’ family still remains in Lagos, Nigeria. Both of his parents are Nigerian, despite many people believing they hailed from Greece. His parents relocated from Lagos to Greece in the early 90s to make a better life for their family. Giannis’ last name, Adetokunbo, was changed to Antetokounmpo on his Greek passport.
You can watch the full episode of “The Game of Adetokunbo,” available now on Youtube.