Giannis Antetokounmpo: Supermax extension reaffirms loyalty to Bucks franchise

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 20: (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 20: (Photo by Ashley Landis - Pool/Getty Images) /

The news of Giannis Antetokounmpo signing his historic supermax extension has reaffirmed the hopes of all Milwaukee Bucks fans and the franchise itself.

December 15, 2020 will certainly go down as one of the banner days in the history of the Milwaukee Bucks.

The news of Giannis Antetokounmpo signing his five-year supermax extension, which doubles as the richest contract in NBA history, has not yet settled into the hearts and minds of Bucks fans around the world. Yet it’s left everyone overjoyed, including this particular Bucks blogger.

More from Bucks News

The security of having the two-time MVP under contract for the next six seasons, though it should be noted his deal includes a opt-out clause in 2025, comes as a huge relief for all fans and the organization itself.

The franchise’s quiet, yet steadfast confidence that Antetokounmpo would end up signing his rich and lavish new contract has paid off in such a meaningful way after years of empowering and developing their homegrown superstar by way of Greece.

The front office’s job is not over by any means as Antetokounmpo still aspires to be winner at the highest level. But what they have done in putting a championship-caliber supporting cast around him as he’s grown into becoming a back-to-back MVP has been no easy feat and they certainly felt the pressure to build an even better core this offseason with Antetokounmpo’s decision weighing heavily on their minds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s extended commitment to the franchise that drafted him remains consistent with his feelings with the organization and city of Milwaukee.

Not since the days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the Bucks had a MVP-caliber player on their roster until Antetokounmpo blossomed into the Hall of Fame player he has and is still becoming.

Like Antetokounmpo, Abdul-Jabbar brought a shot to the arm to a then-expansion franchise that went on to win a title three years after their inception. Individual success followed Abdul-Jabbar throughout his six seasons with the Bucks until he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on June 16. 1975.

As former Bucks general manager Wayne Embry recounted to Thomas Bonk of the Los Angeles Times in December of 1987, Abdul-Jabbar cited to Embry that his lifestyle wasn’t consistent with the city of Milwaukee as why he requested a trade several months before he was eventually dealt:

"“We asked Kareem if there was dissatisfaction with us and he said, no, he just wanted to be traded from Milwaukee,” Embry said. “He said his life style and the life style in Milwaukee were not compatible.”"

Whatever those reasons were, Abdul-Jabbar was justified in feeling them. The Bucks’ championship window had indeed closed in heartbreaking fashion in the 1974 NBA Finals and the Bucks have never been back since then.

In the near half century that passed, which included many great Bucks teams that fell short on the way to championship glory, no one reached the standard Kareem left behind. Not until a raw, gangly teenager from Greece was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Of course, Antetokounmpo’s road to Milwaukee wasn’t paved in gold. He has fought poverty, racism and citizenship issues from his Sepolia neighborhood in Greece all the way to Milwaukee. All of those hardships fueled his insatiable fire to one of the most unlikely rags-to-riches stories in the history of professional sports.

As Antetokounmpo sharpened his body, his mind and his athletic gifts into an MVP-caliber player, he has given a Bucks franchise that was in need of a rebirth. Or else they would have been lost to another city. Throughout it all, Antetokounmpo has relished in becoming the face of the franchise, much less the NBA itself, all while being very cozy in a small market such as Milwaukee.

As all Bucks fans have clung to throughout all of the speculation of Antetokounmpo and his decision on his supermax while all 29 other NBA teams coveted his services, they can count on his happiness in where he is been throughout his NBA career. It has certainly helped that the Bucks have become a championship contender under his watch and that will be the biggest judge of how long he remains in Milwaukee.

Ultimately, all Bucks fans had wanted a superstar to call their own. Abdul-Jabbar’s talk of Milwaukee being incompatible to his own needs had hung over a franchise that had lost its luster over time as players used it as a pit stop for greener pastures as recently as last decade.

Next. 3 goals for D.J. Augustin in 2020-21 season. dark

It took nearly a half century and a wide-eyed, rail thin teenager from Greece to change that perception and reciprocate the feelings that all Bucks fans long wanted to feel. By committing to Milwaukee, Antetokounmpo has chosen to stay in Milwaukee where he’s called home for the last seven NBA seasons and the best may still be to come.