Antetokounmpo says he wanted to repay Milwaukee’s loyalty with new deal

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MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo has said he appreciates the love that the city of Milwaukee has shown him since joining as an 18-year-old Greek rookie.
The two-time reigning MVP has therefore decided to show his loyalty to where he has spent his entire NBA career.

“This is where I want to be,” Antetokounmpo said Wednesday, a day after signing a supermax overtime with the Bucks. “This is the place where I want to raise my children. I feel good here. My family feels good here, so I’m fine. ”

Antetokounmpo could have become a free agent at the end of the upcoming season had he not accepted the deal, a five-year extension worth $ 228 million. Many NBA teams were preparing their financial plans in the hope that the 6-foot-11 “Greek Freak” would become available.

Instead, he stuck around and said it was important to him that his loyalty be seen as part of his heritage.

“I am a man of my word,” Antetokounmpo said. ” It’s big. It’s big. Being part of a team that trusted me, believed in me, took care of me, took care of my family. I always want to give back and I’ve been trying to give back from day one, ever since I’ve been here. I have more to give. ”

Family means a lot to Antetokounmpo, who became a father earlier this year and has a brother (Thanasis) on the Bucks and another (Kostas) on the Los Angeles Lakers.

When discussing what this contract extension meant for him, he referred to his own father, Charles Antetokounmpo, who died of a heart attack in September 2017.

“I know he’s dancing right now,” Antetokounmpo said. “He is extremely happy with what we have accomplished and he is extremely proud of us and who we are as human beings. ”

Antetokounmpo is hoping to give the Bucks their first NBA title since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led them to the 1971 Championship. The Bucks posted the best NBA regular season record in each of the past two years, but lost to Miami in one streak. second-round last season after falling to Toronto in the 2019 Eastern Conference final.

Antetokounmpo says he thinks he can win a title in Milwaukee and notes the Bucks have a “great culture.” But he also notes that building a championship team is a step-by-step process.

“It’s tough because at the end of the day, nowhere you go, nowhere you are is a guarantee of winning a championship,” Antetokounmpo said. “But I know who I am and I know I’m a man of my own words. It may take me 10 years, I may never win a championship or win five. Anyway, I know who I am, I know what I believe and I know that I have stayed with the people who believed in me. ”

He kept some of them guessing until the end.

Antetokounmpo, 26, said he hadn’t informed any teammate of his decision before announcing it on social media because he didn’t want the news to leak. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he found it out walking out of a parking lot when he saw his sons tweeted him with the Antetokounmpo announcement.

“Players like Giannis are very, very rare and very, very unique,” ​​Budenholzer said. “This commitment on his part simply means the world to us all. He believes in the city, he believes in the organization and he believes in his teammates. You just feel like you have the chance to do something special because of its uniqueness. ”

Antetokounmpo has already done more for the Bucks than they could ever have imagined when they selected him with the 15th pick in the 2013 Draft. The two-time MVP and reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year thinks there is still a long way to go.

“Being able to give back to this city and to this organization means a lot,” Antetokounmpo said. “I will be delighted to be able to bring a championship to Milwaukee. I will probably be the happiest person ever. ”

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