Antetokounmpo’s knee injury suffered earlier this week during the Bucks’ Conference Finals with the Atlanta Hawks serves as the latest obstacle that he has to overcome as Milwaukee is a win away from this year’s NBA Finals.
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The path that brought Antetokounmpo to the NBA was fraught with numerous hurdles and thankfully, he’s far removed from going through such dire struggles. Especially signing his landmark supermax extension before the start of the 2020-21 season that committed him to the Bucks until at least 2025.
As Antetokounmpo’s star has grown to extraordinary heights and has asserted himself as a leading figure throughout the world, the stumbling blocks Antetokounmpo has had to clear has come in a professional sense.
That may sound silly, especially for a two-time Most Valuable Player and one of the most gifted players to ever grace the Bucks franchise history.
Yet Antetokounmpo’s shot for glory and becoming a champion has led to such heartbreaking defeats in the playoffs like falling to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago or collapsing to the Miami Heat last season. But as Antetokounmpo told Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes in light of that painful loss nearly a year ago, the 26-year-old Antetokounmpo remains persistent in breaking through that impenetrable wall:
"“Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”"
Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is looking for his shot at glory
While the Bucks have undergone uncharacteristic lows throughout this season that’s been uncommon of the Mike Budenholzer era, Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee are one win away from bringing the Bucks back to the Finals in 47 years.
The changes, both personnel and tactically, have done wonders and put the Bucks in a position to contend for an NBA title, just as they and Antetokounmpo have been searching for over the last couple of seasons.
It hasn’t come without Antetokounmpo having to adjust himself and as criticisms have continued to follow him, especially over the course of this playoff run. Through it all and as the Bucks faced their greatest playoff tests just as they had against the Brooklyn Nets in the Conference Semifinals, Antetokounmpo has met and exceeded those challenges and against some of the greatest players in today’s game.
As one of the greatest competitors in the NBA, Antetokounmpo now has to watch his Bucks team finish the job against Hawks going into Game 6 down in Atlanta and book his and the team’s first trip to the NBA Finals. Doing so from the sidelines is certainly a bitter pill to swallow, though Antetokounmpo may reportedly make his unlikely return to action if the series goes to a Game 7.
The Bucks and Antetokounmpo are in search of making history and the hopes to reach glory will have to come while Antetokounmpo stands as a spectator. He may be no stranger to adversity and if Antetokounmpo’s career has spoken for anything, it’s that he’s ready to break down the next wall that stands in front of him.