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Giannis nearly gave up on NBA career after family's Visa issues

theScore logo theScore 2/19/2019 Chicco Nacion
a person posing for the camera © Streeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has blossomed from a raw prospect to a bonafide superstar in six NBA seasons.

But the three-time All-Star nearly gave up on basketball after his family was declined twice for an American Visa.

"We were stressed because the law says if you were declined three times, it's done," Antetokounmpo's European agent Giorgos Panou said in the TNT documentary "Finding Giannis." "And then he start calling me to say, 'Giorgos, if that's going to happen a third time and they cannot come, I'm leaving.'"

As a 19-year-old in his rookie season, Antetokounmpo's transition to American life was understandably difficult without his loved ones by his side, according to his American-based agent Alex Saratsis.

"He was vulnerable," Saratsis said. "He was scared. He would sleep in the gym because he had no reason to go home. He didn't want to go home. He was alone."

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks (43-14) to the league's best record at the All-Star break. The Greek Freak is having an MVP-caliber season averaging career-highs in points (27.2), boards (12.7), and assists (6.0) per contest.

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