cover image Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP

Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP

Mirin Fader. Hachette, $30 (400p) ISBN 978-0-306-92412-5

Fader, a staff writer for the Ringer, makes good use of her access to NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family in her debut, an inspiring rags-to-riches account. In 1991, Antetokounmpo’s Nigerian parents left their native country for better opportunities in Greece, where Antetokounmpo was born a few years later. As a six-year-old, Antetokounmpo accompanied his mother selling trinkets on the streets, but the money was never enough, and his family was frequently evicted from their homes. At age 13, Antetokounmpo’s life took a turn when Athens basketball coach Spiros Velliniatis clocked the long-limbed teen running around the neighborhood and offered to find his parents work if Antetokounmpo joined his team. Once on the court, Antetokounmpo began to attract international attention and, in 2013, was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks—a gamble by the team that paid off when Giannis became the league’s MVP in 2019 and 2020. Fader never loses sight of how Antetokounmpo continued to put his family’s needs first, helping his mother, father, and brothers move to the U.S. in 2014 and purchasing the “ten-thousand-square-foot mansion” that he shares with them today. This captivating portrait of a sincere, diligent, and humble talent serves as a refreshing antidote to the often-depressing stories of those who become corrupted by success. Agent: Anthony Mattero, Creative Artists. (Aug.)