KEY POINTS

  • Many greats have won a championship but few did it the way Giannis Antetokounmpo did
  • The Milwaukee Bucks ended a 50-year championship drought
  • Antetokounmpo said they did what they were supposed to do for their championship win

Winning an NBA championship has never been easy.

LeBron James took nine years and a change of scenery to win his first NBA title, the Golden State Warriors had 40 years in between their third and fourth titles and the Cleveland Cavaliers took an extremely long route to winning the title, which was excellently covered by Secret Base’s “Chosen” series.

Some of basketball’s greatest players never even got to experience a title win in their illustrious careers.

Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, Patrick Ewing and current Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash either lost in the Finals or never even made it to the grandest stage of basketball.

This makes the Milwaukee Bucks’ recent accomplishment such a big deal for the franchise.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted at 15th in the 2013 NBA draft and quickly became a spectacle for everyone to see due to his lanky frame, extremely long arms and a name that’s hard to pronounce and spell correctly, even to this day.

Lovingly called the “Greek Freak,” Antetokounmpo worked hard at his craft and added muscle to fill in his frame that made him one of the most athletically gifted and powerful players of the current NBA era.

In recent years, many believed that he would never win a title in Milwaukee and that he either needed to join a super team or build a super team of his own to win.

Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo goes up for a shot past Phoenix's Deandre Ayton in Tuesday's sixth game of the NBA Finals, in which the Greek star scored 50 points to power the Bucks over the Suns to win their first title since 1971 Milwaukee Bucks star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo goes up for a shot past Phoenix's Deandre Ayton in Tuesday's sixth game of the NBA Finals, in which the Greek star scored 50 points to power the Bucks over the Suns to win their first title since 1971 Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JONATHAN DANIEL

The emergence of Khris Middleton and their trade for Jrue Holiday all came at the right time as the Bucks won their second title in franchise history after a 50-year drought.

Antetokounmpo appeared on SportsCenter’s “Conversation” where Malika Andrews recounted his journey from MVP to being a champion and asked him what unfinished business was left for him when he became a two-time MVP last year but didn’t want the recognition until he won a title.

“I always wanted to be a champion. Period. I feel like whenever I kept hearing the words ‘MVP’, I’m not just going to settle,” said the 2021 Finals MVP.

“I didn’t want to settle [with just the MVP]. It’s okay, whatever. I’m good now. Everybody knows who I am. I made my name in the league or whatever the case may be but that’s why I never want to have something that holds me back that I cannot work as hard as possible.”

Now that he’s fulfilled that promise of a title to a great city, a weight has been lifted off his shoulders.

Knowing his drive as a competitor however, the “Greek Freak” is not satisfied even after the win.

“Don’t call me nothing. I have that same mentality [as I did before]. That’s the messed-up part of my brain. We just did it. I’m already thinking about ‘how can I do it again, how can I make this team better, what can I improve on to help this team be better’.”

Even he admitted that it’s extremely hard to win a second title but knowing that he and the franchise did it without attracting big free agents, he’s more than happy.

“We might never win another one. It’s fine. We did it. We did what we were supposed to do. I’d rather do it this way than go somewhere else on a super team and win two or three.”

Antetokounmpo’s story as a kid from Greece who grew up from nothing is exactly what the “American Dream” is all about. Prosperity and success built on years of hard work.

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks had already put in the hard work, and it was only a matter of time before the prosperity and success eventually came.