No Hoop Is Too High
The world may know Giannis Antetokounmpo as an NBA champion, but it’s his work off the court that’s truly special.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the NBA’s most talked-about players. He’s an MVP. He’s a champion. Hey, he’s the Greek Freak! But it’s off the court that he’s built something truly special: the AntetokounBros Academy.
Giannis’ passion might be basketball, but his purpose is to create a space where everyone and anyone feels they belong. The camp’s philosophy says it all: “It doesn’t matter where you start from, but where you can go!”
“Most of the kids who come here feel like outsiders; they feel a little less confident. After this experience they gain confidence — they develop the skills that you need when you get out in society.”
AntetokounBros Academy Head Coach
Each year, the Academy welcomes 100 kids (and 12 coaches) from vulnerable social groups and from different neighborhoods, countries and social backgrounds, giving them the chance to unleash and develop their potential through sport.
Together with his brothers, and the help of Onassis Foundation and Eurohoops, Giannis has created something that he never had growing up, something inspirational. That’s why it means so much to him.
Housed in the basketball courts refurbished by Nike and given back to the community in the Ellinorosson, Ampelokipi and Lamprini neighbourhoods, the academy offers so much more than what takes place on the courts.
Throughout the year, the kids experience a series of mentorship sessions and scholarship pathways held at the Onassis Foundation, game analyses led by the Eurohoops coaching team, and inspirational speeches by renowned athletes and professionals from various fields.
“These kids are a microscale of society. If we think and act as one, it’s going to be better for everybody.”
Eurohoops Organization Managing Partner
The son of immigrants who left Nigeria in search of work and a better life in Athens, Giannis knows what it’s like to be the outsider. And it’s driven him to want to help every kid like him feel welcome, feel empowered and reach their true potential, no matter what.
Everyone has their own story, their own life, their own skin color…when we’re all together, we always learn something new.”
AntetokounBros is like a family, with coaches and students both teaching and learning about life from each other. That’s what makes it so special.
The Academy offers some very tangible benefits too. The students’ experience builds to a graduation and awards ceremony. Six top-performing graduates will receive scholarships to continue their basketball education at Eurohoops Academy. This year’s outstanding graduate will be awarded a “One of a Kind” university scholarship funded by the Onassis Foundation.
“With AntetokounBros Academy, different nationalities, religions and genders come together in the neighbourhoods of Athens as one team to pursue all their dreams.”
Director of Culture at the Onassis Foundation
But as impressive as this Academy is, Giannis, in his own true fashion, sums it all up so simply:
“You come here, you have fun!”
He may be one of the hardest workers in the room, but Giannis believes that when you’re free to have fun, you’re free to become who you’re meant to be.
“When you figure out what makes you happy, you gotta keep doing it because you’re gonna be the best version of yourself.”
Photography: Eleni Albarosa
Film: Alkis Papastathopoulos
Animation: Ultra Brand Studio