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Publisher's Summary

Discover the story of one of the most transcendent players in NBA history - from his early life living in poverty in Greece to his inspiring rise to super-stardom in America.

As the face of the NBA's new world order, Giannis Antetokounmpo has overcome unfathomable obstacles to become a symbol of hope for people all over the world, the personification of the American Dream. But his backstory remains largely untold, and Fader unearths new information about the childhood that shaped "The Greek Freak" - from sleeping side by side with his brothers to selling trinkets on the side of the street with his family to the racism he experienced in Greece. Antetokounmpo grew up in an era when Golden Dawn, Greek's far-right, anti-immigrant party, patrolled his neighborhood, and his status as an illegal immigrant largely prevented him from playing for Greek's top clubs, making his rise to the NBA all the more improbable. Fader tells a deeply human story of how an unknown, skinny Black Greek teen, who played in the country's lowest pro division and was seen as a draft gamble, transformed his body and his game into MVP material.

Antetokounmpo's story has been framed as a feel-good narrative in which the globe has embraced him, watching him grow up and lead the underdog Bucks to the best record in the NBA in 2020. Giannis reveals a more nuanced story: how hesitant Antetokounmpo was, and still is, to spend money; how lonely and isolated he felt, adjusting to America and the NBA early in his career; the way he changed after his father recently died of a heart attack; the complexity of grappling with his Black and Greek identities; how private he is, so hard on himself and his shortcomings, a drive that fuels him every day; and the deep-rooted responsibility he feels to be a nurturing role model for his younger brothers. Fader illustrates a more vulnerable star than people know, a person who has evolved triumphantly into all of his roles: as father, brother, son, teammate, and global icon. Giannis gives listeners a front-row seat as Antetokounmpo strives for an elusive championship with the Bucks, quelling speculation about potentially leaving Milwaukee after signing a five-year supermax contract extension worth $228 million. Now, he contends with his next big hurdle: proving that committing to a small-market franchise can bring Milwaukee back to glory.

©2021 Mirin Fader (P)2021 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

“Around the time that the Greek Freak was busting out in the NBA, Mirin Fader was doing the same thing in her line of work. In a journalism world that had become more and more about opinions, Fader decided that she would be a storyteller, and she invariably spins her tales with vividness and clarity, fueled by endless curiosity.” (Jack McCallum, author of Dream Team)

“Mirin Fader traces an upbringing marked by deep family ties, extreme poverty, racism, and xenophobia. Like its subject, this biography is serious, engaging, and, more than anything, inspiring.” (Ben Golliver, author of Bubbleball)

“An inspiring rags-to-riches account.... Fader never loses sight of how Antetokounmpo continued to put his family’s needs first.... [A] captivating portrait of a sincere, diligent, and humble talent." (Publishers Weekly)

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What listeners say about Giannis

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Plural Language

This book while a good listen about a man who has overcome so much was terribly produced. The way Mirin Fader tried to say the plural meaning of NBA teams was horrible. The editor of this audio book should be embarrassed that it was allowed to happen multiple times.

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  • 08-13-21

Fantastic Well Narrated Book

Absolutely great book by first time author Mirin Fader of The Ringer and previously Bleacher Report. She really digs in to Giannis and his family’s life and journey to the NBA, then to NBA stardom. It’s much more about his story than basketball. It’s about a basketball player, so obviously there’s plenty of basketball, but that’s not the primary focus. But as a hardcore hoops fan it satisfied me. It told an incredibly interesting story of his life to that point, with great detail, while still having enough basketball talk.

I’m a fan of Giannis and his game, and he seems like an awesome guy. I’m a hardcore hoops fan who enjoys biographies. I heard this was a good book from many smart basketball people, and I heard her talk about it on a podcast. That was my mindset going in. I’m not some Giannis super fan, I’m not a Bucks fan. Just a fan of great stories, and basketball.

So I’d recommend it if you are interested in his story. I will say he has one of the more fascinating stories in the NBA, or sports in general. It’s well written, and incredibly well narrated. She literally hired a Greek speech coach to help her with all of the pronunciations, as there are many names, places, etc. considering he was born and raised in Greece, and didn’t come to the USA until he was about to be drafted. That shows how much she cared about this narration.

Highly recommended!

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JUST WONDERFUL!

It was an heartfelt story. I'm a true Giannis fan and loves him 10 times more than before hearing his story.

This was my 1st time using Audible and the narrator was awesome. She made me feel as if I was right there in the moment.

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Giannis - the real deal

Loved learning his story and his unrelenting belief in himself and the bigger vision he has for the many communities he serves. A winner athletically and genuine spirit, Giannis I’ve watched play and read about make sense now.

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Best book of the year!

Mirin did an incredible job on this book. It made me feel like I’ve known Giannis my whole life. The details, the sparks, and the interviews were just all TOP NOTCH!! Loved it! I will be having my listen to it as well, and she will enjoy it, and doesn’t even care for basketball. But would love a look into the blood, sweat and tears!

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Inspiring

Every young person should read this book. Every young person striving for a better tomorrow should read this book. Everyone who dares to dream should read this book. “Always want more, but don’t be greedy”

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Great story even for non NBA fans

Great story about an even better human being. A story of struggle, poverty and ultimate success. Great story telling and a good read. Recommend.

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Great, well written story w/ lackluster delivery

Giannis is an incredible story that needed to be told. He's an inspiration and already a legend. The book also gives an idea how much racism Giannis has dealt with and shows that he has always taken the high road.

The narration was very below average. It was not smooth and sometimes was so choppy that it got a little confusing. I think she should have just done the intro and then left the rest to someone else.

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Warning

Be aware. While there is a story in here about Giannis. The author’s real intention is politically motivated.

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Great Story of Triumph

Giannis’ story is one of incredible triumph. As a Black man growing up in extreme poverty in Greece, the author takes you on a journey to a dream realized. The Antetokoumbo family kept tight family disciple and created a proverbial lane for Giannis to take it to the hoop. Very inspirational story.