Greek Political Party Leader Lobs Racist Insult At Giannis Antetokounmbo

Giannis
Giannis Antetokounmpo shakes the hand of NBA Commissioner David Stern (Photo credit: Bucks.com)

The leader of a far right (read: Neo-Nazi) Greek party verbally assailed Bucks’ rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo with a televised reference to a chimpanzee this week. Greece’s basketball federation reacted to the racist remarks with outrage.  As described in the Associated Press story on NBA.com,

The federation on Thursday described the remarks aimed at Giannis Antetokounmpo as “unacceptable and racist.”

Antetokounmpo is an 18-year-old Greek shooting guard and the son of Nigerian immigrants.

Wait, Antetokounmpo is a shooting guard?  I thought he was a small forward… or a point guard… or a point forward.

Just kidding.  The real issue here is most obviously the reprehensible ignorance of the speaker, secretary general of Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos.  His remarks are shown below and a person familiar with the Greek language has told me that the subtitles in the video are a faithful translation into English.

It’s a stupid, shameful and hateful analogy, and the remarks aren’t worthy of the attention that they might drum up.  Go away, Mr. Michaloliakos.

It obviously needs to be pointed out that the speaker’s views don’t reflect the majority of Greek opinion.  Antetokounmbo returned to Greece after the NBA Draft and a brief visit to Milwaukee to prepare for international play with the Greek Under-20 team.  He was greeted with a hero’s welcome that included the meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that was the topic of the TV segment.  But the size of the Golden Dawn party has grown in recent years, spurred on by a flagging Greek economy.  According to an April 2013 piece in Der Spiegel,

As recently as Greece’s October 2009 parliamentary election, Golden Dawn garnered just 0.29 percent of votes. But in the early election held last May, as well as in the subsequent new election in June, the right-wing extremist party suddenly received almost 7 percent of votes, securing 18 seats in the country’s parliament.

Polls now show the party holding 10 to 12 percent of voter support.

According to those numbers, the ignorance is growing. Sigh.  But if justice is served, Antetokounmpo can disassociate himself from the unwarranted remark by overshadowing it with a long string of successes on and off the court.

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6 Comments

  1. For those who do not know, Europe in general is a lot more racist in America, no matter how overemphasised racism is portrayed in America. We cry “racist” anytime anyone simply utters the n-word, but this stuff actually is very racist. Shame on them.

    • The person who insulted Giannis is coming from a political party that’s described as Neo-Nazis and denies the holocaust. It’s historically pretty common for extremists to start blaming races when a country is in a prolonged slump and Greece is orders of magnitude worse off than the U.S. was even in the worst part of 2008/2009. It’s definitely shameful. Honestly, from what I’ve heard from Giannis, he’s doing everything he can to be a valuable player partially so that he can help his family out of a terrible situation. I have no worries about Giannis not giving his all on trying to improve. The coaching staff have been given a body clone of Kevin Durant and it’s up to them to mold his game.

      • Yes, in this situation it is a far-right party, though these kinds of parties have been growing in Europe. Honestly can’t partially blame them that much with the immigration problems the EU has. These parties are just abusing these situations though.

        • The politics are quite complicated, obviously no nazi affiliation should ever be condoned, but given that EU is quite socialized failing economies are going to have a tendency to look in the other political direction for a way out and vice-versa.

          Go Bucks!