Best Non-Fiction Books to Read: Giannis The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP (Mirin Fader)

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As a basketball and NBA fan, I already knew a ton about Giannis and his background (one of the reasons I previously recommended watching the YouTube video “Finding Giannis“). There is a new book by Mirin Fader called “Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP” that I found one of the most captivating and inspiring reads of the past year.

“Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP” details Giannis’ entire life story, from his time as a child in Greece all the way up to 2020 (but not documenting his first NBA championship in 2021). While I knew that Giannis came up with a difficult upbringing, I didn’t quite understand the extent to which he struggled. In addition to struggling with hunger, money, places to live, etc., Giannis also had to face the difficult reality of being Black in Greece. Although Giannis does not talk about his racial identity much, Fader does a great job of detailing just how difficult things were for Giannis.

According to Fader, even more so than in the US, growing up as a black male in Greece is exceptionally difficult. Greece had prominent organizations such as the Golden Dawn, which was a political party that became especially popular during the financial crisis in Greece in 2009. Golden Dawn has been compared to the Nazi’s, and they frequently tormented immigrants (especially blacks) in Greece.

These are just some of the major challenges that Giannis had to face growing up, not to mention the amount of work he had to put in as a basketball player (working his way up from low levels of Greek basketball all the way to the NBA). It truly is one of the most incredible stories in sports, and Fader does a great job of detailing it all. The book also goes into some detail about Giannis family, especially his brothers (2 of which are currently in the NBA, and one who might be joining them soon). It shows the incredible perseverance and talent the family has, and will make you appreciate all of the Antetokounmpo brothers.

Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP Recommendation Rating: 5

This post has now been updated to reflect a new ratings system that I have implemented, which is scored as follows:

1: Something worth checking out if you have time

2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone

3: Something worth prioritizing if interested

4: Something worth making time to check out

5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for


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