Charles Antetokounmpo was the father of Giannis, Thanasis, Kostas, and Alex Antetokounmpo, four brothers who have made their mark in the world of basketball. He was also a former soccer player, a hardworking immigrant, and a loving husband. His sudden death in 2017 shocked and saddened his family and fans alike. How did Charles Antetokounmpo die and what legacy did he leave behind? This article will explore the life and death of Charles Antetokounmpo, as well as the impact he had on his sons’ careers.
A Life of Struggle and Sacrifice
Charles Antetokounmpo was born in 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria, to a Yoruba family. He grew up playing soccer and had dreams of becoming a professional player. However, due to the political and economic instability in Nigeria, he decided to leave his country and seek a better life elsewhere. He left behind his first son, Francis, who was born in 1988.
In 1991, Charles moved to Greece with his wife Veronica, who was also from Nigeria. They settled in Athens, where they faced many challenges as undocumented immigrants. They had to work multiple low-paying jobs to support their family, which grew to include four more sons: Giannis (born in 1994), Thanasis (born in 1992), Kostas (born in 1997), and Alex (born in 2001).
Charles worked as a handyman, a gardener, a janitor, and a street vendor, among other occupations. He often slept on an empty stomach so that his children could have more food. He also instilled in them a strong work ethic, a sense of discipline, and a love for sports. He taught them how to play soccer and encouraged them to pursue their passions.
A Father of Basketball Stars
Charles Antetokounmpo’s sons inherited his athletic genes and talent. They all developed an interest in basketball, which was more popular than soccer in Greece. They joined local teams and practiced relentlessly, often using makeshift hoops and balls.
Charles supported his sons’ basketball dreams and attended their games whenever he could. He also helped them with their footwork and agility drills, which he learned from his soccer days. He was proud of their achievements and motivated them to work harder.
Charles witnessed his sons’ rise to fame and success in the basketball world. Giannis became the star of the Greek team Filathlitikos and was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013. Thanasis followed his brother’s footsteps and joined the Bucks in 2019. Kostas played for several teams in the NBA G League before signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. Alex played for Dominican High School in Wisconsin and received offers from several colleges.
A Tragic and Unexpected Death
Charles Antetokounmpo’s life was cut short on September 29, 2017, when he suffered a heart attack at his home in Milwaukee. He was 54 years old. His death was a devastating blow to his family and friends, who mourned his loss deeply.
Giannis, who was very close to his father, expressed his grief and gratitude on Instagram: “Happy Father’s Day! I miss you every day”. He also honored his father by wearing the number 34 jersey, which represents his father’s birth year (1963) and his mother’s birth year (1974).
Thanasis also paid tribute to his father on social media: “You taught me how to be strong when things get tough… You taught me how to love unconditionally… You taught me how to be humble no matter what… You are my hero”.
Kostas dedicated his first NBA championship ring with the Lakers to his father: “This is for you dad”.
Alex also remembered his father with love and admiration: “He was always there for me… He always pushed me to be better”.
A Lasting Legacy
Charles Antetokounmpo’s cause of death may have been tragic, but his legacy lives on through his sons’ achievements and aspirations. His sons have become some of the most prominent and influential figures in the basketball world, inspiring millions of fans around the globe.
They have also used their fame and fortune to give back to their communities, both in Greece and in the US. They have donated money and equipment to schools, hospitals, charities, and foundations. They have also advocated for social justice causes and raised awareness about racism and discrimination.
Charles Antetokounmpo may be gone, but he is not forgotten. He is remembered as a loving father, a supportive mentor, a hardworking immigrant, and a proud Nigerian-Greek. He is the inspiration behind the rise of the Antetokounmpo brothers.