The basketball star talked of his passion for football and mentioned the team he backed growing up
NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo played football before he transitioned into his basketball journey and revealed he supported Arsenal when he was growing up.
The Milwaukee Bucks forward is one of the superstars in the NBA right now, having won the 2019 MVP award and earning selection in the All-Star team for the last four consecutive seasons.
But the 25-year-old started off kicking a round-ball through his family roots – while growing up as a fan of Arsene Wenger’s Gunners.
“I’m really interested in soccer. I used to support Arsenal back in the day when I was younger,” Antetokounmpo said to reporters as the Bucks prepared to take on the Charlotte Hornets in Paris.
“My Dad used to play soccer. I played soccer from nine until 12 and then 12-and-a-half I started playing basketball.”
Antetokounmpo revealed the joy he gets from visiting different football stadiums around the world – and spoke of his connection to Zlatan Ibrahimovic that developed through the video game FIFA.
The Greek-born star was given the full tour around PSG’s facilities and received the famous blue jersey with his name on the back.
“Whenever I play with FIFA I always play with PSG – big fan of Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he used to play here at PSG,” Giannis said.
“I had the opportunity five years ago to go to Chelsea‘s stadium (Stamford Bridge) and when they told us we were going to PSG’s stadium (Parc des Princes) yesterday I was like, ‘I’m going’ -hopefully I have the chance to meet some of the players, Neymar, [Kylian] Mbappe and the other guys’.
“We saw the history of that stadium. We went to the locker room. We were able to kick some balls.
“The whole experience was fun and we were able to get some jerseys too, so that was nice.”
PSG stars Neymar and Mbappe were in the house to watch the first-ever NBA regular-season game in Paris and left no one in doubt who they were most excited to see on the court.
“Everybody is happy to be here [at the game] – the first time in France and excited to enjoy the game with my friends,” Neymar said courtside.
Mbappe was asked which player he was looking forward to see most, to which he replied: “The French guy and Giannis.”
Neymar then chimed in which his own answer: “Giannis.”