Giannis on Winning NBA Title: 'I Did It the Hard Way' Without Super Team

Author:
Publish date:

In December, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo signed the super-max contract extension to remain with Milwaukee. Over the years, other NBA stars have jetted off to high-profile teams to chase and win titles.

Antetokounmpo decided not to. After leading Milwaukee to its first NBA title in 50 years on Tuesday, the 2021 NBA Finals MVP—while smoking a cigar with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in his left arm and the Finals MVP trophy in his right— reminded the world why he chose to stay with the Bucks.

"I couldn't leave," Antetokounmpo told reporters. "There was a job that had to be finished. Coming back, I said, this was my city, they trust me, they believe in me, they believe in us, even when we lose, the city was still on our side and obviously I wanted to get the job done.

"It is easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else, it's easy. I could go to a super team, do my part and win a championship. But, I did it the hard way."

Giannis posted a masterful performance, recording 50 points, 14 rebounds while finishing an eye-popping 17-of-19 from the free throw line. He is only the seventh player to have a 50-point game in the Finals.

Get SI’s Milwaukee Bucks NBA Championship Commemorative Issue

With Antetokounmpo winning NBA Finals MVP, he became the first player in NBA history to average 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on 60% shooting in an NBA Finals series.

More NBA Finals Coverage: