Giannis Antetokounmpo's Sneaker Collection is Massive

When Giannis Antetokoumpo’s parents emigrated from Nigeria to Greece in search of a better life for their sons, basketball wasn’t part of the plan. Well, at least not for Giannis. Thanasis, the eldest brother and the focus of Giannis’s childhood adoration, was a prep star brimming with professional potential. Giannis, though, had aspirations to play soccer like his father, who had done so to some acclaim back home in Nigeria. 

But Giannis loved his older brother and spent as much time with him as possible. When Thanasis was 17 years old, he signed a professional contract with Maroussi to play in the elite division of the Greek Basketball League. That contract came with the perks of a pro ball lifestyle, which meant an assortment of free sneakers. Thanasis brought those pairs home to show off to his brothers, namely Giannis, who completely lost it when he saw his brothers’ new Nike Kobe 4s.

"Since I was little, I have been wearing KOBE shoes," Giannis says in an interview with Nike. "The fit, feel and function has always been comfortable for me."

The lanky kid who once needed a firm push from his peers to get on the basketball court was pulled closer to the sport. Not just out of brotherly love, but because he was enamored by sneakers.

Antetokounmpo, now a 6’11”, 242-pound mountain of an athlete with the dexterity of a player half his size, reigns as the NBA’s peerless MVP. He’s also become the first international basketball player to receive his own signature sneaker with Nike. The Nike Zoom Freak 1—commercially released earlier this month—finds inspiration in a dream realized. Meant to illustrate Giannis’ triumphant story and urge others to reach for greater heights, its details harken back to the player’s Greek roots, his adoring parents named Veronica and Charles and his four brothers that share his upbringing and love of basketball and sneaker culture.

While home in Central Athens to promote the Freak 1 and dedicate new namesake basketball courts with Nike, Giannis spoke about sharing sneakers with Thanasis growing up. The Greek Freak has no need to share sneakers these days. In fact, he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on “The Jump” that he owns over 4,000 pairs, below.

“I got a shoe closet. It's a big room. In there is probably around 300, 400. But I got a large storage unit that I have in my house, and I have a lot of shoes in Greece, also," Antetokounmpo expressed in the interview.

I got a shoe closet. It's a big room. In there is probably around 300, 400. But I got a large storage unit that I have in my house, and I have a lot of shoes in Greece, also.

- Giannis Antetokounmpo

For an NBA player, having hundreds of thousands of sneakers isn’t exactly rare. Yet, what makes Giannis’s case unique is that his are spread across multiple continents. With bountiful hauls in both the US and Greece, Giannis’s collection has an international flare few other players can boast. And most other players can’t say that their collection features their own signature Nike shoe.

Even more impressive than his debut signature sneaker or his massive personal collection is Giannis’ path to greatness. "To be honest with you, I never dreamed of having a signature shoe. Growing up, the goal was making the NBA; playing hard and helping your team win. This is a bonus," he says.

From that very first pair of Nike Kobe’s that he shared with Thanasis, Giannis knew what it meant to have everything while only actually having very little. It’s proof that sneakers are more than just cover for your feet, but quite possibly, a vehicle to your dreams.

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Nike Zoom Freak 1

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