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23 Sep

Giannis Antetokounmpo Goes On A Journey with WhatsApp

Giannis Antetokounmpo Goes On A Journey with WhatsApp

Photo: WhatsApp

Once Giannis Antetokounmpo began traveling for his profession, the basketball player began to rely heavily on WhatsApp to remain connected along with his family and friends. Like most who need to communicate through channels resulting from distance, WhatsApp stands as a premier and reliable service that works seemingly anywhere there’s Wifi. “As a Nigerian born and raised in Greece and currently living within the US, I even have all the time felt each a powerful connection and a longing distance to every a part of who I’m and where I even have come from,” he tells ESSENCE.

Earlier this yr, it was announced that the Milwaukee Bucks, Power forward, and WhatsApp were in partnership on the NBA All-Star game as Antetokounmpo wore a custom hoodie during his tunnel walk.

The primary initiative within the duo’s partnership introduces a four-chapter short film titled Naija Odyssey, directed by international duo Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inada, and narrated by Antetokounmpo and his mom is an experience that basketball surely will always remember. The film is a loose adaptation of the Greek epic poem The Odyssey, which parallels Antetokounmpo’s life and lots of others like him.

Sure to tug on heartstrings, Naija Odyssey shows there’s all the time a option to connect with those you’re keen on, though they is perhaps on the opposite side of the globe, something that international basketball star Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t recent to.

Antetokounmpo shares his experience working with WhatsApp to ESSENCE below.

ESSENCE: How did you are feeling once you established the partnership with WhatsApp and what was the method like?

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I used to be glad. I used to be extremely glad. Just being a brand ambassador for this very well-established platform, was amazing. I asked myself, “Why me?” Then they explained to me, my family’s story, and the way in which it connected to them, feels authentic. And I used to be pretty excited, but after they told me the primary time, I used to be like, “Man, have they ever worked with anybody else like this?” and so they said, “No, you’re the primary one.”

What was that process like?

Antetokounmpo: To be honest, I attempted to not get myself involved in any respect with the backwards and forwards. He’s the one which does it [points to the manager]. I just attempt to concentrate on basketball. But I do know whatever they tell me to do, I’ll do, so long as it may well be authentic. After they brought the entire plan, I used to be like, “Okay, it feels good. When my mom watches, she goes to be extremely proud. She’s going to be glad about it. So, after which we resolve to work together.

So this isn’t something totally out of your realm, as you’ve done a little bit of acting up to now. Was the method similar in any option to your acting experience?

Antetokounmpo: From after I got to the NBA, I’ve done a variety of short movies. I’ve improved, but I’m still not like Robert Downey Jr, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, or Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m not considered one of those guys. Perhaps I’ll at some point.

So with narrating this story, what were the moments that it clicked for you, that the story was about connecting with other people?

Antetokounmpo: Once I was filming, after I was looking outside the window and excited about my family and what they were going through and what I needed to undergo that day, it felt prefer it hit home. Because after I went there within the States, the primary time they put me on this hotel and so they had me there for 3 months. I used to be like, “When is my family going to come back? When is my family going to come back?” I used to be attempting to determine ways to attach with them and I did it through WhatsApp.

I’m not the one person on this planet that feels this fashion. There are some folks that live 10,000, to twenty,000 miles away, and the one way they get connected and feel like they’re there’s through the app. But I feel we’re pretty, extremely blessed to have this technology because when my parents left Nigeria, in 1990, they weren’t capable of try this, they weren’t capable of see their parents, consult with them, or connect with them. So it definitely hit home and hope people relate to the moment.

While narrating the story, what were the moments that made you relate to the story arc of Naija Odyssey, as you grew up in Greece?

Antetokounmpo: There are a variety of moments because a variety of people don’t understand that I’m not only Greek, I’m Nigerian, and there are a variety of times that you simply is perhaps in a spot where you are feeling such as you don’t belong to anybody. That’s how I felt my whole life growing up, and it wasn’t due to my parents. My parents were trying to offer us with a greater life. But sometimes people around you make you are feeling that way. And then you definately really think that you simply don’t belong anywhere.

Now that I’m older, I do know my roots. I do know where I’m from, and I’m a Nigerian that was born in Greece. I do know Nigerian culture. I do know the Greek culture. I do know Nigerian music. I do know Greek music. I’ve ate Nigerian food. I ate Greek food. I’ve done it each, and whoever doesn’t want to simply accept it may well, what did you guys say here in America, “kick rocks”?

How was it hearing your mom’s voice within the narration?

Antetokounmpo: Just hearing the voice you hear your whole life out of your childhood until now my being an adult, it’s amazing. And it’s all the time going to be there. No person can take that moment away from her, or from me. It was special.

What does the, “There’s nobody like us” narrative mean to you?

Antetokounmpo: There’s nobody like us. I’ve never seen a variety of people whose immigrant parents are illegal, born in Greece, thrive within the states, and understand each. It’s hard. It’s like going to the lab and throwing all the combo together. There’s nobody like us on the market.

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