MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo said he appreciates the love that the city of Milwaukee has shown for him since his arrival as an 18 year old rookie from Greece.
So the reigning MVP twice decided to show his loyalty to the place where he spent his entire career in the NBA.
“It’s the place I want to be,” said Antetokounmpo on Wednesday, the day after signing a Supermax extension with Bucks. “It’s the place where I want to raise my kids. I feel good here. My family feels good here, so I’m fine. ”
Antetokounmpo could have become a free agent at the end of next season had he not agreed to the deal, allegedly a $ 228 million five-year extension. Many NBA teams were planning their financial plans with the hope that the six-foot-tall “Greek Freak” would be available.
Instead, he went on to say that it was important to him that his loyalty be considered part of his legacy.
“I am a man of my word,” said Antetokounmpo. “This is great. This is great. Being on a team that trusted me, believed in me, took care of me, took care of my family. I always wanted to give back and I have been trying to give back since the first day, since I am here. I have more to give. ”
Family means a lot to Antetokounmpo, who became a father earlier this year and has a brother (Thanasis) at Bucks and another (Kostas) at the Los Angeles Lakers.
In discussing what this contract extension means to him, he mentioned his own father, Charles Antetokounmpo, who died of a heart attack in September 2017.
“I know he’s dancing now, ” said Antetokounmpo.” He is extremely happy for what we have achieved and is extremely proud of us and of who we are as human beings. ”
Antetokounmpo hopes to give the Bucks their first NBA title since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led them to the 1971 championship. The Bucks recorded the NBA’s best regular season record in each of the past two years, but lost to Miami in a series. second round last season after falling to Toronto in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals.
Antetokounmpo says he believes he can win a title in Milwaukee and noted that Bucks has a “great culture”. But he also notes that building a champion team is a step-by-step process.
“It is difficult because at the end of the day, nowhere you go, nowhere you are, it is a guarantee of winning a championship,” said Antetokounmpo. . It can take 10 years, I can never win a championship or I can win five. Whatever the case, I know who I am, I know what I believe in and I know that I stayed with the people who believed in me. ”
He kept some of them guessing until the end.
Antetokounmpo, 26, said he had not informed any teammate of his decision before announcing it on social media because he did not want the news to leak. Bucks technician Mike Budenholzer said he found out as he left a parking lot when he saw that his children had texted him with the Antetokounmpo ad.
“Players like Giannis are very, very rare and very, very unique, ” said Budenholzer.” His commitment means the world to us all. He believes in the city, he believes in the organization and he believes in his companions. You just feel like you have a chance to do something special because of your expertise. ”
Antetokounmpo already did more for the Bucks than they could have imagined when they selected him as 15th choice in the 2013 draft. The two-time NBA MVP and defensive player of the year believes there is still more to do.
“Being able to give back to this city and this organization means a lot, ” said Antetokounmpo.” I will be ecstatic if we can bring a championship to Milwaukee. I will probably be the happiest person ever. ”