Giannis 1 of 8 NBA Finals players with international ties
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The NBA Finals feature seven internationally born players, with none bigger than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
We know some of the more well-known international basketball star names -- Hakeem Olajuwon, Dirk Nowitzki or Yao Ming, and in these finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo is just continuing a longstanding tradition of international stars making the game better.
Matt Brabants oversees the NBA's global media distribution, making sure that these finals reach 215 countries. More than 100 international players from 47 countries started this season on NBA rosters this year.
"The global popularity of the game is at an all-time high at the moment, and I've seen that momentum build over the last decade," Brabants said. "It's not only the number, but the impact they're making at such a high level. And you couldn't think of a better example than Giannis and what he's doing in the finals."
In total, eight players in the NBA Finals have international ties -- seven of those players also have ties to Africa.
"Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to notice that there were a lot of African players, a lot of Nigerian players also playing on teams," Giannis said. "It just speaks for itself how much talent can come from Africa."
The two-time MVP is a global brand at this point in his career, the latest line in a list of international stars being a positive example.
"Giannis' story really does create that incredible dream for people around the world, that this can happen for me too if I work hard and I try," Brabants said.
Brabants also says that since the playoffs have started, the league has seen a 34-percent increase in league pass subscriptions in Greece. There's no doubt that's due to Giannis and the Bucks.