Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek-Nigerian basketball player, has become the first-ever global ambassador for WhatsApp, the mobile messaging app.
The partnership was first hinted at when the Milwaukee Bucks power forward walked down the tunnel at the 2022 NBA All-Star game on Sunday.
The basketballer was wearing an Adire-like corduroy hoodie with +234, the international calling code for Nigeria, inscribed on the chest and a miniature logo of WhatsApp at a corner.
Speaking on the partnership on Monday, Antetokounmpo said the app is his “link to home in Greece and a link to my family roots in Nigeria”.
“Throughout my life, WhatsApp has kept me connected to my loved ones, my friends, my communities and everyone important to me. It’s a link to home in Greece, and a link to my family roots in Nigeria,” he said.
“Having easy access to my communities has helped build me into the person and athlete I am today, and working with WhatsApp – a messaging service that I use every day to stay connected with family is important to me. I look forward to building on this partnership together.”
Vivian Odior, head of global brand and integrated marketing at WhatsApp, said the partnership was necessary because “his story is a perfect example of why we do what we do every day”.
“Giannis’ success is fueled by the deep relationships he has in his life, and it’s been an honour to hear that WhatsApp has helped keep those relationships strong throughout the years. We’re excited for Giannis to be WhatsApp’s first global brand partner,” she said.
“Giannis is one of the billions of people who use WhatsApp every day to stay connected with friends and family, and his story is a perfect example of why we do what we do every day.”