Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Greek, 22, Basketball
The ‘Greek Freak’ making his own space in the NBA.
Key partners: Nike
2016 ranking: New entry
Not many leagues in team sport offer as much scope for self-expression as the National Basketball Association (NBA); not many produce the same calibre of dominant personalities. It can be hard to spot new lights in the firmament when the old lodestars – Curry and Durant and, of course, LeBron – burn bright enough to fill the sky.
In other words, it pays to stand out – and no one in basketball stands out more than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Dubbed, a little reductively, ‘the Greek Freak’, this 6’11 point guard must be seen to be understood. He blends irresistible skill with impossible reach; fluid, intuitive motion a blink removed from decisive physical intervention. American sportswriters are scrambling to describe something they have never seen before: the Washington Post cast him as Inspector Gadget, the New York Times as a T-1000 out-jumping a Wang Computer.
“I think you’ve got a young millennial who has an unbelievable story, from nothing to something. He’s just starting to take off. By default, his Greek background as well as his African background has made him an international superstar, which has obviously been great for the organisation because we get that interest in the partnership availability as well.” - Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin.
In the season just past, a slow-burning career sparked into life for the Milwaukee Bucks as this 22-year-old served notice of his talent on his way to claiming the NBA's most improved player award. If he can put that to decisive use, and move from the highlights reel to the front page, then Antetokounmpo, born in Athens to Nigerian parents, could be basketball’s next global icon. EC