Giannis Antetokounmpo fulfills championship promise to Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 20 (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 20 (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Eight years after he first arrived to the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo officially stands at the NBA summit.

With the Bucks having won their first title in 50 years following their 105-98 Game 6 victory over the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks brought about the unthinkable while his 50-point performance represented the long, lean years Bucks fans had to get through to enjoy this historic moment.

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The fact that it was Antetokounmpo who stood at the center of such a feat and is the catalyzing force that helped the Bucks end and the city of Milwaukee end their title drought isn’t lost anyone.

It’s Antetokounmpo who, after showing flashes of the player he could become throughout the Bucks’ miserable 2013-14 season, promised that he wouldn’t leave the city of Milwaukee until he won a championship.

Over time, Antetokounmpo proved himself capable of bringing about change.

He transformed his body, his skills and abilities and eventually, his mind to become the most unlikely superstar we’ve ever seen after having gone through incredible trails and tribulations growing up on the streets of Greece with his family. And as Antetokounmpo reflected after the Bucks’ title-clinching win Tuesday night, his family and overall upbringing is central to the person and player he stands and the journey he is on today. Per EuroHoops:

"“The whole journey. In order for me to be in this position, how much my parents sacrificed. How much my parents sacrificed. I saw that every day. Every day in my life,” Giannis said. “This is for my mom, she worked extremely hard every day for me to be in this position and she never pressured me to do other things. This is for my dad, that he’s watching from above and he can see it. And this is for my significant other, also. Every day, she helps me be better, a better person. She let me do what I’m supposed to do, and she takes care of my son and my next son. And for my brothers.“I can be stubborn sometimes,” Giannis added, as if he was confessing something in sheer honesty. “I can disconnect myself from the world because I want this so bad. I wanted this so bad, and I was able to get it. That’s why I was tearing up. But people helped me to be in this position. I didn’t do it by myself. Every freaking day, people helped me."

Giannis Antetokounmpo cements his legendary Milwaukee Bucks legacy

It’s the belief that people in Antetokounmpo’s circle and journey have held in him that eventually transformed a Bucks fanbase that was once short on hope and direction.

In Milwaukee, Antetokounmpo gave life to a Bucks fanbase that desperately needed a star to turn around and brighten the organization after years of mediocrity. Antetokounmpo showed us all that he was the one worth pining all of our hopes to as he and the Bucks shot for the stars.

Antetokounmpo’s potential and greatness would soon be recognized by Bucks fans, the city of Milwaukee and soon, legends of the game who walked through the same journey that Antetokounmpo is on right now. The aspirations that Antetokounmpo held for himself, whether it was writing MVP on his water bottle or Kobe Bryant challenging him to win a championship after his first MVP-winning season, have increasingly been seen in others along the way.

Just as Antetokounmpo, none of this has happened by accident. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In Antetokounmpo’s case, it has taken a family, a foreign city halfway across the world and an organization to help Antetokounmpo find his way and sharpen himself into becoming one of the best basketball players in the world and now an NBA champion in the city that he has called home, both through his words and his actions.

As our walking seven-foot vision board, all of the sweat, blood, tears and grueling Jason Kidd practices that Antetokounmpo had to endure over the years have helped him and the Bucks take their place in history once again. It clearly wasn’t just Antetokounmpo who helped make these triumphant experiences possible, but his ability to dream and realize his many visions have made us all able to think that anything is truly possible, even in a small market like Milwaukee.

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It’s not the end of a journey by any means. That’s clearly not how Antetokounmpo is wired as we all know. And at 26 years old, the scary thing is that he’s only getting started and Bucks fans will continue to dream all over as long as Antetokounmpo is wearing a Bucks uniform.