Veronica Antetokounmpo is the proud mother of four accomplished basketball players, hailing from a background that intertwines Greek and Nigerian heritage. Her children, born in Nigeria, have left an undeniable mark on the basketball world, making waves across continents.
Veronica is best known as the mother of the accomplished basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo, a name that eclipses her own. Giannis, having garnered numerous prestigious awards, is a source of immense pride for Veronica.
Giannis has sought guidance from his mother on various steps in his athletic journey, establishing a profound admiration for Veronica. In his speeches, he consistently dedicates his awards to her, underscoring the significant role she plays in his life and achievements.
Their close bond is evident as they mutually support each other, contributing to a life of luxury they share together. Let’s take a closer look at the intriguing life she has led and the impact her family has made in the realm of basketball.
Early Personal Life
Veronica Antetokounmpo was born on 7 April 1964 in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. Her childhood is a mystery to the public world, as there are no reports on what her upbringing was like.
There is no reliable data available on Veronica’s educational journey, unfortunately.
Veronica dedicated herself to supporting her family during her upbringing, working as a caretaker, seamstress, and cleaner. Known for her strong work ethic, she consistently demonstrated a willingness to take on any task necessary to ensure the well-being of her family.
These days, she lives a luxurious life thanks to the love and support of her children.
While the family is widely recognized by the surname Antetokounmpo, their original Yoruba name is Adétòkunbọ̀. The adoption of Antetokounmpo as Giannis’ surname originated from a misspelling on his Greek passport, prompting the entire family to embrace the new last name.
As undocumented immigrants in Greece, Charles and Veronica faced the challenge of forming connections beyond their family, fearing potential repercussions from acquaintances. This concern persisted even when they moved to Milwaukee, making it difficult for them to establish friendships after living for 25 years without such connections. Trusting others became a complex task.
The family, including the children, harboured fears in Greece, particularly regarding the potential deportation of Charles and Veronica. Despite these anxieties, Charles and Veronica instilled resilience in their children, encouraging them to be tough and maintain the belief that things would eventually work out.
In a significant development, in September 2021, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the president of Greece, granted citizenship to Veronica and her youngest son Alex.
Yesterday, @giannis_an34 attended a ceremony at the official residence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as his mother, Veronica, and brother, @alex_ante34, officially became Greek citizens. 🇬🇷💙 pic.twitter.com/ZmiRp68pSt
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) September 17, 2021
The swearing-in ceremony took place on 16 September and was held at the home of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. They were the last two living members of the Antetokounmpo family to obtain Greek citizenship, with Giannis and Thanasis being granted citizenship in 2013, and Kostas in 2016.
Veronica owns a custom basketball purse adorned with autographs from sports stars such as LeBron James, her son Giannis, and Khris Middleton.
In the Antetokounmpo home, Veronica communicated with her sons in Igbo, one of the four official languages of Nigeria.
Among the Antetokounmpo brothers, all except Francis pursued careers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Notably, Francis chose a path in soccer, playing in Greece.
Adding to their collective achievements, three of the brothers hold NBA Championship titles. Kostas secured the title in 2020 while playing for the L.A Lakers.
Giannis and Thanasis, celebrated championship victories the following year, when they took to the court for the Milwaukee Bucks.
The brothers’ exceptional athletic journeys, coupled with their distinctive rise to fame and the evident closeness of their bond, served as the inspiration for the 2022 biographical film, “Rise.”
Later Personal Life
Veronica always had faith in her children, and hoped that things would turn out well for them. She watched them play, join the NBA, move all around the world, and become sports stars. She knew that their efforts would take the family to a better place in the future. To her, her family’s journey has been amazing.
Veronica and Charles Antetokounmpo were married and shared a life journey that began in Nigeria and led them to Athens, Greece in 1991. The couple had five children, with their eldest son, Francis, born in Lagos, Nigeria. When the family moved to Greece, Francis stayed with his grandparents in Nigeria.
The younger sons—Giannis, Thanasis, Alex, and Kostas—were born in Athens and that’s where they were raised. For many years, they didn’t have legal citizenship anywhere else in the world, but in May 2013, Giannis was granted Greek citizenship shortly before being drafted into the NBA.
Before all that happened, the family didn’t have things easy. Until 2012, Thanasis and Giannis resorted to street vending to contribute to their parents’ income. Within their home, the living arrangement was modest, with Charles and Veronica’s sons sharing one bed.
Veronica and Charles occupied a small area in the same room separated by a curtain.
The family’s relocation to the US began in 2014, with Thanasis playing in the NBA’s D-League and the parents and youngest brothers joining after securing their visas.
Charles, a former pro soccer player, hoped all his boys would follow in his footsteps, but used his skills as a soccer player to improve how they play basketball. He took pride in Giannis’s leadership on and off the court and admired how he mentored his younger brothers, passing on valuable lessons about basketball and life.
Veronica and Charles relocated to Milwaukee to support Giannis after he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013. To persuade Giannis (who was only 13 at the time) to join Greek club Filathlitikos, coach Spiros Velliniatis assured Veronica and Charles that he would secure employment opportunities for them with a monthly income of €800.
It took a long time for things to work out, but the family overcame visa challenges to join him in Wisconsin in 2014.
During his rookie season, Giannis, feeling lonely and homesick, expressed a strong desire for his family to join him in the US. Their close-knit bond was evident through Skype calls, through which Giannis showed his family his apartment and the bedrooms he had prepared for them.
Giannis, Kostas, and Alex were roommates in Milwaukee for a while, while their parents lived one floor below in the same downtown complex.
Tragically, Charles passed away from a heart attack on 29 September 2017, at the age of 54. Giannis fondly remembered his father’s unwavering support at his games, and emphasised the importance of Charles’ impact on raising his children right. Giannis acknowledged that his father fulfilled his role in the world, leaving a lasting legacy for his family.
Two years after his father’s passing, Giannis achieved the NBA’s MVP award. During his emotional acceptance speech, he expressed gratitude to his parents, particularly acknowledging his late father.
Giannis shared that he wanted to thank his father even if he couldn’t be there on that special day. He stated that every time he would step onto the court, he would think of his father, and this motivated and pushed him to play better.
He extended his appreciation to his brothers and referred to his mom as his “hero,” stating that children can’t see the future the way their parents do. According to him, Veronica always saw a good future for her sons, and always knew that they could achieve greatness, adding that Veronica is the foundation of his family.
In 2020 Giannis, along with his family, established the Charles Antetokounmpo Family Foundation, with a global reach that has a mission to assist refugees, immigrants, widows, athletes, and youth.
The foundation supports organizations such as the International Rescue Committee, and the Milwaukee Diaper Mission.
Veronica actively keeps abreast of Giannis’s life, especially through social media updates. Despite Giannis attempting to avoid online chatter, news inevitably reaches him through his partner, teammates, or his mother, whom he humorously refers to as his “No. 1 fan, or stalker.”
Born on 6 December 1994, Giannis is a distinguished professional basketball player representing the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA. Holding dual Greek and Nigerian citizenship, Giannis earned the moniker “Greek Freak,” a nod to both his nationality and his exceptional attributes encompassing size, strength, and ball-handling skills.
Widely regarded as one of the premier power forwards and European players in the history of the sport, Giannis has left an indelible mark on the basketball landscape.
Giannis initiated his basketball journey in Athens, showcasing his skills with the Filathlitikos youth teams. His talent blossomed, leading him to join the club’s senior team in 2011. The Milwaukee Bucks recognized his potential, and selected him as the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Acknowledging his remarkable growth, Giannis was honoured with the Most Improved Player award in 2017. His consistently stellar performance garnered him the most votes from the Eastern Conference in 2019, 2020 and 2023. Giannis boasts an impressive seven selections to the All-Star Game, including three occasions where he served as the team captain.
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Veronica is quite short at 5ft 0.5ins (165cms) and weighs about 158lbs (72kgs). She has dark brown eyes and long black hair.
As of late 2023, Veronica’s estimated net worth is estimated as high as $3 million.