The short ﬁlm, part of the NBA star’s partnership with WhatsApp,
explores the importance of global connection to forge and maintain identity
Today WhatsApp and Giannis Antetokounmpo release Naija Odyssey, an
epic, four-chapter short ﬁlm that explores the importance of international connectivity through the lens of
the Greek and Nigerian basketball prodigy.
The short ﬁlm, directed by international duo Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inada, is available to view on
YouTube and in select markets on Prime Video starting today, September 21. Naija Odyssey is the ﬁrst
product of the partnership between WhatsApp and Antetokounmpo since its initial unveiling at the NBA
All-Star Game in February 2022.
Narrated by Antetokounmpo and his mother, Naija Odyssey is a loose interpretation of the Greek epic
poem The Odyssey, informed by the Milwaukee Bucks forward’s evolution from Nigerian boy born in
Greece to 2021 NBA All-Star MVP. Portraying the plurality of Antetokounmpo’s heritage, the story
celebrates how WhatsApp has enabled the basketball star to reach his athletic potential abroad while
remaining true to his roots.
Giannis Antetokounmpo said: "As a Nigerian born and raised in Greece and currently living in the
US, I have always felt both a strong connection and a longing distance to each part of who I am
and where I have come from. Using WhatsApp to stay connected to my family while abroad
has been pivotal to furthering my understanding of who I am no matter where I am, and I know
that’s a sentiment many can relate to. I’m proud of what we have created with Naija Odyssey, and
I hope that it’s a story many around the world can ﬁnd themselves, and their journeys, reﬂected
Vivian Odior, head of marketing at WhatsApp said: “Naija Odyssey is a story that reinforces how
WhatsApp helps us embrace our multifaceted lives. In navigating relationships, identity, and even
adversity, WhatsApp is there – enabling you to embrace all sides of you by connecting you to those who
matter most. We can’t wait to share it with the billions of people around the world who have been
similarly impacted, enabled, and empowered by WhatsApp.”
Directors Nono & Rodrigo said: "As both immigrant and multicultural directors, we feel so proud to be
able to tell Giannis' journey, and create something that could resonate with a lot of people that have
gone through the same situations. This project was a dream; not only because of the super talented
team behind it – Partizan, Translation, Whatsapp, and Giannis' team – but also because it was really
emotional to make a modern version of The Odyssey and integrate a relatable identity story like Giannis’
Film on Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B8SQPGWB
Film on YouTube: https://youtu.be/q7uO23TqKBI
Giannis Sticker pack: https://wa.me/stickerpack/GiannisAndFamily
● Naija Odyssey is the ﬁrst product of a new partnership between Antetokounmpo and WhatsApp.
● Antetokounmpo is the ﬁrst brand partner for Meta.
● In February of this year, Antetokounmpo announced his partnership with WhatsApp by wearing a
custom hoodie during the tunnel walk into the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. Designed by Nigerian
designer Niyi Okuboyejo of Post Imperial, the hoodie “hacked” his jersey number 34 into +234, the
international calling code for Nigeria. On the back, the hoodie was emblazoned with his family's name
in its original Yoruba spelling, Adétòkunbọ̀ .
● Taking a truly cross-cultural approach to production, the ﬁlm was shot between Milwaukee, Lagos and
Athens, with creatives from around the world coming together to shoot, edit, and soundmix the ﬁlm.
● In tandem with the ﬁlm release, WhatsApp and Giannis are releasing a signature in-app sticker pack as
an extension of the “There’s No One Like Us” narrative. This pack showcases the breadth of
expressions we share in close relationships. These stickers fuel conversation and celebrate the
richness of Giannis’ multifaceted identity. The pack was designed by Nigerian illustrator and product
designer Mario Nomso.
More than 2 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family,
anytime and anywhere. WhatsApp is free and oﬀers simple, secure, reliable messaging and calling, all
over the world.