Giannis Antetokounmpo Haggled When Buying His Own Jersey In Nigeria & Vendor Didn’t Recognize Him

Photo by Len Werle/OpenCourt-Basketball


Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time NBA MVP and Milwaukee Bucks star, recently made his first trip to Nigeria, the country where his parents were born and raised. The journey was documented in a film titled Ugo: A Homecoming Story, directed by Rick Famuyiwa.

The documentary follows Giannis as he explores his Nigerian heritage, reconnects with his family, and discovers where his story started. Along the way, he visits various places in Lagos, such as Tarkwa Bay, Rowe Park, and Nabu Nigeria, where he interacts with the locals, plays basketball with the kids, and learns about the culture and history of his homeland.

One of the most memorable moments in the film is when Giannis went to a street market and bought his own jersey from a vendor who did not recognize him. Giannis, wearing a mask and sunglasses, casually asked for the price of the jersey, which had his name and number on it. The vendor, unaware of the identity of his customer, told him it is 3,000 naira (about $7). Giannis paid the amount and walked away with a smile, leaving the vendor clueless about the encounter.

The scene showcases Giannis’ humble and down-to-earth personality, as well as his sense of humor and curiosity. It also reflects the irony of his situation: he is one of the most famous and successful basketball players in the world, yet he is still unknown to many people in his ancestral land. He is a global icon, but also a stranger in his own home.

During his post-game press conference after the 2024 NBA All-Star Game in Indianapolis, Antetokounmpo was asked about this exact story. He shared how things occurred and revealed he even tried to haggle the vendor.


“I have no idea. It’s a funny and a crazy story at the same time. I really don’t expect everybody to know who I am or know my name. I’m not aiming for that. I’m actually aiming for the opposite, kind of stay as low profile as I can. Yeah, crazy, crazy story.

Going through the streets of Lagos trying to buy a Giannis jersey. I told my mom, if I see my jersey, I’m going to stop and buy it. I don’t care if people mob me. I’ve never bought my jersey before. It’s a good way to do it.

When I saw my jersey, came down, people are following me. I’m with a guy. I used to sell stuff. I tried to bargain. He told me, I don’t know, $5. I’m like 2 1/2. He said, no, 5.

I’m like 3 1/2. He had no idea who I was. Then I gave him 5, and I said I want the Giannis jersey. Gave it to me, and he turned his back.

My mom told him, hey, you know who that is? That’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. That’s actually the guy. Then he realized. It’s funny.

I want to be down there more. I enjoyed my time down there. I enjoyed meeting my relatives for the first time. I think in my few days there I impacted a lot of people in the communities, and I want to keep doing good stuff with my foundation.”


You may also like...