The Milwaukee Bucks brought an NBA title home for the city of Milwaukee for the first time since 1971 thanks to their 105-98 victory in Game 6 of the NBA Finals as well as a 50-point night from Giannis Antetokounmpo.
There is a much bigger meaning behind this NBA championship that simply just goes beyond the Bucks ending a 50-year title drought. In today’s NBA where forming the next superteam always feels like it’s around the corner, the Bucks’ run to the mountain top has an entirely different feel to it.
For this Bucks team stands one superstar in Antetokounmpo and two supporting stars who fought, clawed and scratched their way to a title.
Khris Middleton asserted himself as someone who can give you 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game. It was in the Bucks’ comeback victory in Game 4 where Middleton hit the 40-point mark, standing as one of five 40-point games that were had during the NBA Finals.
Jrue Holiday is a defensive specialist that can shoot well and perform when his number is called. Holiday fought through plenty of offensive struggles, but his presence was still felt in some capacity and delivered his biggest performance of the career in the Bucks’ Game 5 victory over the Suns to go up 3-2 in the series.
Milwaukee Bucks won their NBA championship the old-fashioned way
Milwaukee won this championship and it was with a lot of players who are very good. They proved themselves to be more than their ‘Big 3’ with the likes of Brook Lopez, P.J. Tucker, Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis all finding their role and place within the team
Championship won in the NBA today often come from superteams being formed and the Bucks are far from it. This Bucks team has one superstar put the team and the city on his back to win the championship. Recent champions of this model, if we could call it that, look like the 2011 Dallas Mavericks who got past the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh-led Miami Heat and the Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto Raptors back in 2019.
What is noteworthy about all three of those championships was that all of these titles had two very good players that knew their role. Giannis had Holiday and Middleton. Leonard in Toronto had Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol . Nowitzki had Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Tyson Chandler. They all had one superstar and two very good players that embraced their role.
We all knew that talk and speculation of Antetokounmpo leaving Milwaukee to form his own superteam swirled in the background before he made the decision to stay in Milwaukee last December after signing his supermax extension, currently the richest contract in NBA history. And as he told it Tuesday night after that Game 6 win, he wanted to reach the summit his way:
“Obviously, I wanted to get the job done. But that’s my stubborn side. It’s easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else. It’s easy. I could go to a superteam and just do my part and win a championship. But this is the hard way to do it and this is the way to do it. And we did it.”
The Bucks drafted Antetokounmpo in 2013 with the 15th overall pick. He developed his game, put on muscle, and became an absolute force. What is most significant about this is that he did it while remaining loyal to the team that drafted him, regardless of the trials and tribulations he and his team went through.
Ever since he was drafted by the Bucks, he has made it clear that he wants to be in Milwaukee and bring a championship to the city. His goal was accomplished, and now it is time for them to run it back.