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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. Bu 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 readers 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.


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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. Bu 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 readers 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.

30 review for Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brandice

    Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP was an excellent, in depth look at one of basketball’s rising leaders. Mirin Fader conducted 221 interviews in the process of writing this book. It’s thorough, covering Giannis’s childhood in Greece where he grew up loving soccer and eventually came around to basketball, the bond he and his brothers share, the struggles his family faced — being evicted from their home and not knowing where their next meal would come from, the unfortunate prevalence of r Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP was an excellent, in depth look at one of basketball’s rising leaders. Mirin Fader conducted 221 interviews in the process of writing this book. It’s thorough, covering Giannis’s childhood in Greece where he grew up loving soccer and eventually came around to basketball, the bond he and his brothers share, the struggles his family faced — being evicted from their home and not knowing where their next meal would come from, the unfortunate prevalence of racism that still remains in Greece today, Giannis’s pursuit of basketball — a slow and steady one compared to many other NBA players today, and his arrival in the league and in America, as he attempted to adjust to the vast contrast in culture and life here, followed by his rise in the league. I truly can’t fathom hunger at the level of pain and exhaustion the Antetokounmpo family experienced. It can be easy to judge athletes from afar, but they’re people first and so many have come from such humble beginnings. I’m not a Bucks fan, but can’t help rooting for Giannis — He is a dedicated student of the game, committed to his craft, polite to all, grateful, devoted to family, has incredible athletic prowess, and is funny. While this book was finished slightly before the 2021 Finals, the Bucks winning the championship this year only further solidified Giannis’s place as a worthy opponent. His story is an inspiring one. Thank you to Hachette Books and NetGalley for providing a copy of Giannis in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ari Smith

    I read this book as a NetGalley ARC. As a direct result of reading, "Giannis" by Mirin Fader, Giannis Antetokounmpo has a new fan. Growing up in Greece with two undocumented, refugee parents and three brothers delt Giannis a hard lot in life. "Fate can start you at the bottom. Dreams can take you to the top." Giannis' never stop believing, never stop working, mentality and the drive and support of his family, got him drafted to the NBA. Then, as you read, the real work began. The biggest take away I read this book as a NetGalley ARC. As a direct result of reading, "Giannis" by Mirin Fader, Giannis Antetokounmpo has a new fan. Growing up in Greece with two undocumented, refugee parents and three brothers delt Giannis a hard lot in life. "Fate can start you at the bottom. Dreams can take you to the top." Giannis' never stop believing, never stop working, mentality and the drive and support of his family, got him drafted to the NBA. Then, as you read, the real work began. The biggest take away I got from this book is, you will not be tomorrow where you are today. If you have a goal, take steps toward it every day. Giannis took opportunities to learn and develop. He took notes. He asked questions. He was not afraid to learn from others. He looked toward coaches and mentors for guidance and support. And then, he worked. He worked longer and harder than anyone else on his team, because that is the level of dedication it takes to be the best. This book had me searching on Google and watching basketball highlights of Giannis and Baby Shaq. It was refreshing to read Fader's descriptions of Giannis playing and then to watch youtube videos of exactly what the book described. I learned so much more than just about Giannis. It seems fitting to include in a book about Giannis Antetokounmpo some relevant and timely historical anecdotes of Greece (the country He loves), history of the Milwakee Bucks (his team) and the members if Giannis' family (that he loves so much). The question I ask myself is, would I read this book again? Yes! The story of Giannis Antetokounmpo is inspiring and helps me feel entirely grateful for my life experiences.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mindaugas Mozūras

    If I can't be the face of the league being me, I don't want to be the face of the league. The human aspect of this story is what makes good biographies good. I appreciate the glimpse into another person through their happiness & sadness, struggles & successes. It can't just be a collection of facts. For the biography to affect me, it has to go beyond that. Giannis succeeds as biography. It's meticulous. The story starts with Giannis' childhood in Greece, where he and his family had to experience e If I can't be the face of the league being me, I don't want to be the face of the league. The human aspect of this story is what makes good biographies good. I appreciate the glimpse into another person through their happiness & sadness, struggles & successes. It can't just be a collection of facts. For the biography to affect me, it has to go beyond that. Giannis succeeds as biography. It's meticulous. The story starts with Giannis' childhood in Greece, where he and his family had to experience eviction from home, daily hunger, and the pervasiveness of racism. The story slowly becomes more and more optimistic, but the struggles continue even after Giannis' arrival in the US. The author, Mirin Fader, made me appreciate Giannis' perseverance and overall attitude. I got a bit teary-eyed multiple times while reading the story. The book was finished before the 2021 NBA Finals, where the Bucks (the team Giannis plays for) won the championship, and Giannis won the Finals MVP. I watched most of the playoff games and hoped for their success. Reading this book made me appreciate their win even more. If you're a basketball fan, it's a worthy read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    Of course I was going to read this book right after Giannis led the Bucks to their first championship in 50 years. It was fascinating learning about his life growing up on Greece and his first few years in Milwaukee. We had no idea what he was going through. Obviously I knew the book wouldn't include the championship (you can bet I'll be checking out the expanded version from the library once it comes out), but I was also disappointed at how rushed the chapter about the 2020 season was. Some real Of course I was going to read this book right after Giannis led the Bucks to their first championship in 50 years. It was fascinating learning about his life growing up on Greece and his first few years in Milwaukee. We had no idea what he was going through. Obviously I knew the book wouldn't include the championship (you can bet I'll be checking out the expanded version from the library once it comes out), but I was also disappointed at how rushed the chapter about the 2020 season was. Some really important things happened that year, including the bubble, Giannis marching in the Black Lives Matter marches, the Bucks refusing to take the court for a playoff game and, of course, Giannis' contract extension. Hopefully the author will be able to go deeper into those issues in the next version too. That aside, I'm just in awe of this amazing athlete and charmed by his intense, humble, goofy personality.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Runnoe

    Loved it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pete

    If you're a fan of the Bucks, Baskeball in general, or about great human being. Read this book. If you're a fan of the Bucks, Baskeball in general, or about great human being. Read this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Living My Best Book Life

    Giannis is an inspirational book about one of the NBA's most dominant athletes, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his rise to NBA royalty. I think this is going to be a staple read for basketball fans. I love watching basketball and have since I was a young girl watching games with my dad. Giannis is one of my favorite players to watch because he is so dominant on the court and always gives his all. So, I was excited to finally get to know more about Giannis as a person. The book starts out with an intro Giannis is an inspirational book about one of the NBA's most dominant athletes, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his rise to NBA royalty. I think this is going to be a staple read for basketball fans. I love watching basketball and have since I was a young girl watching games with my dad. Giannis is one of my favorite players to watch because he is so dominant on the court and always gives his all. So, I was excited to finally get to know more about Giannis as a person. The book starts out with an introduction to his childhood in Greece. His story is more than just rags to riches it's about striving for greatness even when everyone and everything seems like they are against you. We quickly learn how much family means to him. When he was young, he had to find jobs wherever he could because he wanted to help his family financially. His family faced struggles and once he found the sport of basketball he knew he would do whatever he could to make it to the NBA and change his and his family's life. When Giannis got older and started to take basketball more seriously, he still wasn't on scouts or teams' radars. He was a lanky, uncoordinated kid who loved the game but nothing screamed superstar to anyone...anyone except his family. His parents and his brothers always believed he could be one of the greats. Giannis is so grateful for their support and that pushed him. He worked hard, stayed in the gym longer, and did whatever he could to make sure he was putting himself in the best position to succeed. But like I said before most people weren't rooting for him. As many of us know, Giannis grew up in Greece so you would assume that the people of Greece would be rooting for a local athlete. Sadly that was not the case. Unfortunately, because of the color of his skin, he faced racism on a daily basis. Why you may ask? Well according to some he couldn't possibly be black and from Greece. I have to applaud Giannis because he took the high road never putting down the people of Greece and keeping quiet about the unfortunate racism he faced. That's why it was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when he made it to the NBA and signed with the Milwaukee Bucks. He felt like he did it and could take care of his family. But he still would face many ups and downs. So many wondered if he could produce and be effective but he never doubted himself. Every time someone thought he wasn't good enough he strived to prove them wrong. I enjoyed this story and loved reading interviews about his humor and his positive attitude. He is so humble and never wants to forget where he came from. Just because he is making millions doesn't mean that he spends it all in one place. He is very smart with his money and I think that's because of his struggles. And because of those struggles, he doesn't want to lose what he has so that motivates him every day. I give Giannis 5 stars. It's such a powerful story about a young boy from Greece having a dream and making it a reality with hard work, determination, and the support of family. His story is an inspiration and shows people that fame doesn't always have to change a person. I look forward to the day when Giannis is holding up the NBA Championship trophy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Woods

    Provided some great insight into Giannis's life. A bit repetitive. not bad. Provided some great insight into Giannis's life. A bit repetitive. not bad.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dallin Kohler

    Solid book about (arguably) the greatest athlete backstory of all time. It reads like a really long athlete profile article, the kind you'd read in a sports magazine. The writing wasn't amazing, but the story itself sure is. Giannis is a humble superstar (a phrase that sounds like an oxymoron given the typical attitudes of America's top athletes) who really came from nothing. This book not only made me look at my favorite basketball player in a new way, but it made me look at the food on my plat Solid book about (arguably) the greatest athlete backstory of all time. It reads like a really long athlete profile article, the kind you'd read in a sports magazine. The writing wasn't amazing, but the story itself sure is. Giannis is a humble superstar (a phrase that sounds like an oxymoron given the typical attitudes of America's top athletes) who really came from nothing. This book not only made me look at my favorite basketball player in a new way, but it made me look at the food on my plate with newfound appreciation too. And while people may look at Giannis and say "if I was 6-11 I'd be in the NBA too", this book really underscores the buckets of blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to become the best basketball player on the planet.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kai Wong

    Don't think there will be a better example in my lifetime of someone who "made it from nothing" and "started from the bottom and now [he's] here." Giannis went from being stateless, homeless, poor, hungry, and discriminated against to the largest-ever signed NBA contract, 2021 Champion, 2x MVP, Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, 1st-Team, DoTY, Defensive 1st-Team, and MIP. I still remember when I saw him decimate my Celtics live in 2019. I remember vividly telling myself that this guy was unstoppable and Don't think there will be a better example in my lifetime of someone who "made it from nothing" and "started from the bottom and now [he's] here." Giannis went from being stateless, homeless, poor, hungry, and discriminated against to the largest-ever signed NBA contract, 2021 Champion, 2x MVP, Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, 1st-Team, DoTY, Defensive 1st-Team, and MIP. I still remember when I saw him decimate my Celtics live in 2019. I remember vividly telling myself that this guy was unstoppable and he was just such a presence lurking on the court. The book was as much about the psychology of such a life change in 8 years as it was about Giannis' work ethic, kill mentality, and likeable character. Writing wasn't the most poignant of bios or sportswriting, but given the deep research and apropos release immediately following the Bucks first championship in 50 years, Fader deserves a huge kudos for making Giannis come alive and even more likeable than he already is. In some ways its kind of nice to read this before Giannis-the-Champion, as now that you know Giannis, you can't call him a Champion unless he's three-peated ;) "The mindset to have? When you focus on the past, that's your ego. 'I did [this] in the past. I won [that] in the past.' When I focus on the future, that's my pride. 'I'm going to dominate.' That's your pride talking. I try to focus on the moment. In the present. That's humility. That's being humble. That's a skill I'm trying to master. And it's been working so far. So I'm not going to stop." Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qLch...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Honestly the only issue I had with this book is it felt like there were so many moments that could’ve been expounded upon even further, but overall an impeccably-researched read that captured well the experience of watching Giannis grow from inspiring oddity to the genuine symbol of hope and self-belief that he is now.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christine Salek

    Deeply reported and thorough with several gut punches right to the feels. I’m not much of an NBA fan, but knowing the Bucks won the championship in 2021 added a layer of pride and satisfaction to my read. Mirin’s work is always so good, and I’m overjoyed she selected this story for her first book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jane Dennish

    I’m a Sixers fan through and through, but I still enjoyed reading this book! I love that it’s a sports book by a female author! We need more of that! The book follows Giannis’s rise from a poor immigrant boy living in Greece, dealing with hunger and racism to the most popular basketball stage in the world….the NBA. No matter which team you cheer for, his story is inspirational, his personality is humorous (yes, I laughed out loud while reading a sports bio) and his drive and determination in ins I’m a Sixers fan through and through, but I still enjoyed reading this book! I love that it’s a sports book by a female author! We need more of that! The book follows Giannis’s rise from a poor immigrant boy living in Greece, dealing with hunger and racism to the most popular basketball stage in the world….the NBA. No matter which team you cheer for, his story is inspirational, his personality is humorous (yes, I laughed out loud while reading a sports bio) and his drive and determination in inspiring. He is one of the best! Thanks to HB Social Club at Hachette books for a gifted copy!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sara Stanton

    Listened on audio

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Lysen

    Giannis, a Greek God, is too pure for us mere mortals.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike Thomas

    The big takeaways from this are that nobody in their right mind would want Mike Bud to be their basketball coach and no one in their right mind would want Jason Kidd allowed around people ever.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie White

    Giannis Antetokounmpo has followed a true "hero's journey." From a humble beginning in Greece, he willed himself- and his brothers, to find success on the basketball court. Author Mirin Fader has thoroughly researched every aspect of what has made Giannis, Giannis. Through interviews with former coaches, teammates, and family friends, Fader has woven together the story of the complex tapestry of Giannis' identity. An inspirational biography and compelling text, this book is a must-read for fellow Giannis Antetokounmpo has followed a true "hero's journey." From a humble beginning in Greece, he willed himself- and his brothers, to find success on the basketball court. Author Mirin Fader has thoroughly researched every aspect of what has made Giannis, Giannis. Through interviews with former coaches, teammates, and family friends, Fader has woven together the story of the complex tapestry of Giannis' identity. An inspirational biography and compelling text, this book is a must-read for fellow Milwaukee Bucks fans, student-athletes, coaches, and anyone else looking to be motivated to become the best version of him or herself! **I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP is the biographical story of Giannis Antetokounmpo from childhood to his current time in the NBA. The book chronicles his early life in Greece and all of the struggles he faced, including poverty, racism, and his fight as an immigrant to even get noticed for his basketball skills. All aspects of his time in the NBA are covered in great detail, from getting drafted and adapting to life in America to leading the Bucks to the playoffs and his back to back Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP is the biographical story of Giannis Antetokounmpo from childhood to his current time in the NBA. The book chronicles his early life in Greece and all of the struggles he faced, including poverty, racism, and his fight as an immigrant to even get noticed for his basketball skills. All aspects of his time in the NBA are covered in great detail, from getting drafted and adapting to life in America to leading the Bucks to the playoffs and his back to back MVP awards. Wow, wow, wow, what a fantastic book. As a basketball fan with moderate general knowledge of the NBA, I was immediately interested in this book and was incredibly impressed. The book took great care to respectfully tell Giannis's backstory in a way that showed how difficult it really was for him to have a chance to get drafted. His humility and loyalty to his family and his team is well documented throughout the book, and I enjoyed reading the detail spent on each of his years with the Bucks. And the evolution of his views on and outspokenness of the racism he experienced in Greece, along with the experiences of fellow teammates and events in Wisconsin, is one of the real gems in the book. A great book about a complex athlete, check this one out as soon as it is published. Thanks to Netgalley and Hachette Books for this ARC; this is my honest and voluntary review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Chamberlain

    I have been a HUGE fan of Giannis for many years now, so I was extremely thrilled to receive an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. In addition to being one of the best basketball players in the world, he has always seemed like such a great human being - everything in the media showed him as a happy, kind person who always had time for people, no matter how seemingly unimportant. Reading this book was very eye opening, as Giannis has always been somewhat private about his I have been a HUGE fan of Giannis for many years now, so I was extremely thrilled to receive an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. In addition to being one of the best basketball players in the world, he has always seemed like such a great human being - everything in the media showed him as a happy, kind person who always had time for people, no matter how seemingly unimportant. Reading this book was very eye opening, as Giannis has always been somewhat private about his life off of the court. Learning about the family's struggles to survive in a Greece that did not want them until they could potentially do something for them was heartbreaking, but their overall optimism and love for each other was also just so wonderful to read. This was a wonderful book. The author did a fantastic job of telling Giannis's story, with interviews from not just his brothers but also people from Greece who grew up with him and introduced him to the game of basketball. His hard work and dedication to being the best he can be is admirable, but his greatness as a person is sometimes something that is overlooked--and it shouldn't be. Giannis is truly a great role model, and their finally winning the NBA championship this year is an excellent "epilogue" to this book. I hope many people read this book to learn more about such a wonderful person!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Denise Chojnacki

    Giannis. The name itself just suggests greatness; an overcomer. That's what this book is all about. It's a rags to riches story in the best possible way. A kid who grew up in poverty that was noticed by one person who gave a damn. A kid who despite constant hunger and racist attitudes found a way out. What more can you ask for in a story? The one thing a reviewer did mention in one of my library journals was that this author was a bit detailed in spots to the point of overkill. I agree with that Giannis. The name itself just suggests greatness; an overcomer. That's what this book is all about. It's a rags to riches story in the best possible way. A kid who grew up in poverty that was noticed by one person who gave a damn. A kid who despite constant hunger and racist attitudes found a way out. What more can you ask for in a story? The one thing a reviewer did mention in one of my library journals was that this author was a bit detailed in spots to the point of overkill. I agree with that. There was a place in the book that got better with that and less of a choppy trajectory. The portrayal of Giannis as a humble human being who with the support of his family and others became religious in his quest to make a better life for he and his family is a good one. He was relentless but stayed humble to who he was through it all. The fact that they won a championship after what was the end of this book was the cherry on the cake. I will say one thing regarding Greece. After how they treated Giannis and his family not to mention other migrants, I have no desire to go there. That kind of behavior is unspeakable. Again, being the amazing man he is; Giannis stays true to his Greek heritage. I'm just grateful we in Wisconsin get to have this great example in our state.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary B.

    I'd like to start by stating that I'm a huge Giannis fan, so I was happy to take a deep dive into the life of this talented, determined, humble and lovable young man. (As you can see, I''m not at all biased.) Marin Fader's book chronicles Giannis's struggle to survive poverty and racism in Greece and his indefatigable determination to "make it" through hard work and grit. What makes the book so good? Fader creates a structure that considers a number of factors (eg., social. political, economic) I'd like to start by stating that I'm a huge Giannis fan, so I was happy to take a deep dive into the life of this talented, determined, humble and lovable young man. (As you can see, I''m not at all biased.) Marin Fader's book chronicles Giannis's struggle to survive poverty and racism in Greece and his indefatigable determination to "make it" through hard work and grit. What makes the book so good? Fader creates a structure that considers a number of factors (eg., social. political, economic) that have shaped Giannis's personal and professional paths. Best of all, the book takes us beyond the headlines with amusing, inspiring and poignant anecdotes, as well as quotes from Giannis and his family, friends, coaches and colleagues. (Wait till you read the story about the Oreos.) We see Giannis grow in his craft and become a superstar, while remaining true to himself and keeping family close. One might see this book as a bit of a love letter to Giannis, but I'm okay with that (see first sentence). One other note: I thought the writing was a bit clunky in the first few chapters (repetitive word choice, awkward sentence structure) but things improved as the book progressed. If you love the Greek Freak, be sure to pick up this book!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ray Kluender

    50 million stars for Giannis. 3 stars for this paean to him. It is not Fader's fault that I have read pretty much every word written about Giannis since he joined the Bucks 8 years ago. I had hoped that this would enlighten me a bit about how he's managed to be this impossibly motivated and reliable and dignified in the face of poverty and racism and the scrutiny that comes with being a two-time MVP. Unfortunately, this never complicated the linear narrative of Giannis triumphing over every obst 50 million stars for Giannis. 3 stars for this paean to him. It is not Fader's fault that I have read pretty much every word written about Giannis since he joined the Bucks 8 years ago. I had hoped that this would enlighten me a bit about how he's managed to be this impossibly motivated and reliable and dignified in the face of poverty and racism and the scrutiny that comes with being a two-time MVP. Unfortunately, this never complicated the linear narrative of Giannis triumphing over every obstacle through superhuman dedication and family values. Giannis may just be bulletproof but it didn't deepen my understanding/impression of him much as a person. The first third included the most new information to me but crossed the line a bit into poverty porn. It was also a bit of a mess narratively and jumped around a fair amount in time in ways that didn't serve much of a thematic purpose in my reading. Anyway, a terrific introduction to Giannis for the uninitiated! I am 100% holding it to an unfair standard. Good job Mirin thanks for writing this book about my favorite athlete.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    The release timing of this book could not have been more perfect for Mirin Fader. Fresh off Giannis winning the NBA Championship in 2021, now this book chronicling his incredibly unlikely and inspirational journey to that destination. A young kid of Nigerian descent born and living in Greece with his three brothers and poor parents while dealing with racism and non acceptance from the country. Giannis’ story is the epitome of an underdog sports movie. This book is as much about the Antetokounmpo The release timing of this book could not have been more perfect for Mirin Fader. Fresh off Giannis winning the NBA Championship in 2021, now this book chronicling his incredibly unlikely and inspirational journey to that destination. A young kid of Nigerian descent born and living in Greece with his three brothers and poor parents while dealing with racism and non acceptance from the country. Giannis’ story is the epitome of an underdog sports movie. This book is as much about the Antetokounmpo family and how important family is to Giannis. The chapter which details Giannis’ first arrival in the NBA with his former teammates and coaches describing how the 18 year old discovered every new thing about basketball, Milwaukee, and American culture can’t help but bring a smile to your face the whole time. To this day, as a superstar in the NBA, Giannis still maintains this same child like innocence in a 7-foot grown ass man’s body. A person that is really easy to and you can’t help but cheer for, and from day one had the work ethic to make it from an unlikely beginning.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rudy Dyck

    This was a really good book about Giannis life. It does not include any mention of Giannis last season or their championship. The book pretty much ends the summer before the 20-21 season. This is not a book about basketball but about Giannis life story. It was incredible and sad reading about the poor conditions he grew up in. The racism he faced and how prevalent racism is in Greece was disturbing as well. How he grew as a basketball player and was discovered was interesting. The NBA front offi This was a really good book about Giannis life. It does not include any mention of Giannis last season or their championship. The book pretty much ends the summer before the 20-21 season. This is not a book about basketball but about Giannis life story. It was incredible and sad reading about the poor conditions he grew up in. The racism he faced and how prevalent racism is in Greece was disturbing as well. How he grew as a basketball player and was discovered was interesting. The NBA front offices debating his future was cool. I would have liked to know more about the oldest brother in the family Francis and why he stayed in Nigeria when his parents fled to Athens. Overall a very good read. A bit slow towards the end but still an easy 4/5. Side note: Kindle version a bit annoying since it didn’t have page numbers. Also the book concludes at 85%. The rest of the book are pictures and footnotes.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Miriam T

    This book really blew me away. As someone who really doesn’t gravitate towards sports, or typically read sports books, this story is (as everyone says) such a resonate, widely understood and appreciated one. Giannis is such an admirable person and Mirin tells his story so compassionately and fully. I really liked that even as Mirin talked about his child-like ways, she never portrayed him AS a child, never belittled his way of life or thinking. Because Giannis isn’t pitiful or anything, quite th This book really blew me away. As someone who really doesn’t gravitate towards sports, or typically read sports books, this story is (as everyone says) such a resonate, widely understood and appreciated one. Giannis is such an admirable person and Mirin tells his story so compassionately and fully. I really liked that even as Mirin talked about his child-like ways, she never portrayed him AS a child, never belittled his way of life or thinking. Because Giannis isn’t pitiful or anything, quite the opposite. He is clearly someone who takes challenges head on and works works works until he meets or exceeds obstacles. Honestly I was EXHAUSTED even just reading how much he’s in the gym. This book was really heartwarming and is such a good vessel to tell a universal story. 10/10 would recommend to any (especially people who wouldn’t typically be interested in sports!!)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This book tells the incredible story of Giannis Antetokounmpo but it’s so much more than just a biography of a global sports icon. The author goes into important and timely social issues such as migration, immigration, and social justice. This book is a magnificent story of persistence in a flawed immigration system and the harmful impact of nationalism. The story of Giannis shows what it’s like to be stateless and undocumented and the hardships and impossible obstacles because of these systems. This book tells the incredible story of Giannis Antetokounmpo but it’s so much more than just a biography of a global sports icon. The author goes into important and timely social issues such as migration, immigration, and social justice. This book is a magnificent story of persistence in a flawed immigration system and the harmful impact of nationalism. The story of Giannis shows what it’s like to be stateless and undocumented and the hardships and impossible obstacles because of these systems. This is such a timely story when many lack empathy and understanding of the complexities of immigration. The story of Giannis is powerful and touching and the author beautifully weaves his incredible journey along with a look at timely social issues and how current events shape us in so many ways.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jon Norimann

    Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP is a solid and above all very timely work about Giannis Antetokounmpo. He started a poor kid on the streets of Athens, Greece and become the worlds best basketball playerfrom about 2019. Fader takes the reader through the stages of his life from about age ten to now. It is quite a story, pretty much the American Dream personified. An entertaining and memorable 5 hour read. The book ends in summer 2020 when all Giannis has left to achieve is winning the N Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP is a solid and above all very timely work about Giannis Antetokounmpo. He started a poor kid on the streets of Athens, Greece and become the worlds best basketball playerfrom about 2019. Fader takes the reader through the stages of his life from about age ten to now. It is quite a story, pretty much the American Dream personified. An entertaining and memorable 5 hour read. The book ends in summer 2020 when all Giannis has left to achieve is winning the NBA Championship. Obviously there will soon be a 2nd updated edition as Giannis won that title a year later after a historic performance by him. Read either of those editions if you are at all interested in basketball or people coming from a humble nothing to huge success.

  28. 5 out of 5

    NP

    Giannis and his family have an incredible story, and this book reveals new details of their journey. As. Bucks fan, I really enjoyed the anecdotes and insights into Giannis's mindset when he came to Milwaukee. Race and immigration are touched on in chapters throughout the book, and they're an essential part of the story. But they felt sort of tacked on, and perhaps would benefit from being presented as a continuous story on their own. The way the Greek government has treated the family is especia Giannis and his family have an incredible story, and this book reveals new details of their journey. As. Bucks fan, I really enjoyed the anecdotes and insights into Giannis's mindset when he came to Milwaukee. Race and immigration are touched on in chapters throughout the book, and they're an essential part of the story. But they felt sort of tacked on, and perhaps would benefit from being presented as a continuous story on their own. The way the Greek government has treated the family is especially worth delving into. I wasn't in love with the author's writing style, and I think the book would've benefitted from cutting down on the inclusion of so many quotes and interviews that sometimes felt unnecessary.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Phil Busch

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is a great read. It tells the story of Giannis, starting with his upbringing and going to (nearly) today. It reads very fast and is enjoyable, especially if you’ve followed his career so far. The only reason I took off one star is that it seems like it needed some more time with the editor. There’s some typos, small grammar mistakes, and sudden introductions of new people in the story. Finally, the tales of the racism Giannis encountered in Greece are appalling. Shame on the Golden Daw This book is a great read. It tells the story of Giannis, starting with his upbringing and going to (nearly) today. It reads very fast and is enjoyable, especially if you’ve followed his career so far. The only reason I took off one star is that it seems like it needed some more time with the editor. There’s some typos, small grammar mistakes, and sudden introductions of new people in the story. Finally, the tales of the racism Giannis encountered in Greece are appalling. Shame on the Golden Dawn for treating him and all people of color as less than white Greeks. I didn’t know about any of that before reading this book; learning about it made me sad for humanity.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Luo

    I am not necessarily the biggest fan of basketball, but this recent NBA playoffs, I became more involved with watching the sport. I had heard about the prowess of Giannis before, but to watch it in action was something else. This book is an extremely detailed account of the rise of Giannis, from his challenges growing up as a son of Nigerian immigrants in Greece to his eventual NBA superstardom. Fader did a great job of showing the improbable odds against Giannis, his strong family values, and so I am not necessarily the biggest fan of basketball, but this recent NBA playoffs, I became more involved with watching the sport. I had heard about the prowess of Giannis before, but to watch it in action was something else. This book is an extremely detailed account of the rise of Giannis, from his challenges growing up as a son of Nigerian immigrants in Greece to his eventual NBA superstardom. Fader did a great job of showing the improbable odds against Giannis, his strong family values, and some of the cultural background of Greece. A really digestible book for fans of basketball and non-fans alike that is a true story of success.

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