Adetokunbo’s amazing rise from Greece to a projected NBA first round pick

Sometimes the best part about the NBA Draft is the backstories that accompany the young on-court talent we have all been discussing over the last few months.

And come Thursday night in Brooklyn, the best backstory could easily belong to Giannis Adetokunbo.Not only has the 18-year old who recently became a Greek citizen and sent NBA head coaches, scouts and executives flocking to the second division Greek league this past season, but Adetokunbo has “American dream” written all over it.

At the 2013 NBA Draft, Adetokunbo will go from former vagabond to a first-round millionaire once David Stern struggles to pronounce his name.

What a story — one that the New York Times is featuring with the official countdown to Thursday underway.

“From the time I started in basketball, my dream was to be a big star, to have a big future in basketball,” said Adetokunbo, who is signed to play in Spain next season if the road to the NBA is put on hold by a teams’ “draft and stash” plan.

Joern Pollex/SBNation

The story goes on to describe how the 6-foot-9 point/forward of Nigerian decent grew up in humble beginnings, “hawking watches, bags and sunglasses” and missing meals in order to help his parents make ends meet. Basketball became his saving grace, along with his three brothers. Giannis’ older brother, Thanasis (20-years old) is weighing offers from European clubs and will still be eligible for the NBA draft next year.

“When they began playing basketball, Giannis and Thanasis took turns using one pair of sneakers. Soon, their athletic prowess impressed everyone.”

That “everyone” included the likes of Sam Presti, Danny Ferry, Daryl Morey, Masai Ujiri, Danny Ainge and Ryan McDonough to name a few. As of now, Adetokunbo is projected to go 10th to the Portland Trail Blazers, 15th to the Milwaukee Bucks or 17th to the Atlanta Hawks according to some mock drafts write-ups.

Those mock drafts do not tell the whole story, but by Thursday night Giannis Adetokunbo’s story will be well-told.