Giannis Antetokounmpo will carry Greece's flag during Olympic opening ceremony

Giannis Antetokounmpo has accomplished just about everything in his basketball career, but one goal in particular has remained unfulfilled. Until now.

The Milwaukee Bucks superstar and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player will have his dream of playing in the Olympic Games for his native Greece come true this summer in Paris. And to add to the honor, Antetokounmpo will carry the flag of his home country at the opening ceremony along the Seine River when the Games officially begin on July 26.

It will be a historic moment for Greece, as Antetokounmpo becomes the first Black athlete to bear its flag in the Games.

Giannis Antetokoumpo helped Greece secure a berth in the Paris Olympics by defeating Croatia in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament earlier this month.
Giannis Antetokoumpo helped Greece secure a berth in the Paris Olympics by defeating Croatia in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament earlier this month.

Greece secured an Olympic spot in men's basketball for the first time since 2008 with a victory earlier this month over Croatia at the FIBA qualifying tournament.

Afterward, Antetokounmpo could barely control his emotions as he reflected on the importance of the moment.

When asked about the possibility of carrying the Greek flag, he demurred.

“That is an honor,” he said. “If I am the flag bearer, great. If I am not, OK. I am just happy that I have a good coaching staff and a good team, I am in the Olympics."

Born in Greece but of Nigerian descent, Antetokounmpo and his family experienced many instances of racism growing up in the Athens neighborhood of Sepolia. He and his brother Thanasis were not granted citizenship until 2013.

Now, he'll lead his country's delegation in the Olympics' opening parade of nations − where Greece is traditionally the first to be presented.

"I just want to go and compete," he said. "But I would enjoy every moment.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Giannis Antetokounmpo to carry flag for Greece at Paris Olympics

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