Within 19.8 seconds remaining of Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo walked across the court alone, opened his arms and smiled, telling Milwaukee fans to further increase his enthusiasm. As the Bucks won the NBA championship with a 105-98 victory in 2021, leading the team to the NBA title celebration after 50 years. Thanks to Antetokounmpo’s performance on Tuesday night, he can now occupy his place in the pantheon of NBA legends.
Game 6 of the final series showed the breadth of his outstanding skills. For 42 minutes, he broke Phoenix’s defense and attacked the basket. A 6’11” skilled player controlled the rebounds as the center forward and controlled the ball like an elite point guard in the NBA. He rejected 5 shots and spent most of the fourth quarter with Chris Paul. Then there were the fouls. In the most important match of his life he unleashed his most feared skill and drained 17 of his 19 free throws.
Thanks to his efforts, Antetokounmpo became the most valuable player in the final just three weeks after hyperextension of his left knee. He became only the third player in NBA history to win the NBA Finals MVP and defender of the year award along with Michael Jordan and Hakim Olajuwon.
First of all, when he is the son of a Nigerian immigrant, this title was the culmination of an extraordinary journey that began in the humble Athens region of Sepolia. Antetokounmpo is a boy who first loves football. He only started playing basketball at the age of 12. He played only one season in the Greek second division. In 2013, he finished with the 15th overall pick in Milwaukee. Only a few NBA teams are looking for a dark prospect.
Eight years later he is the champion. A few weeks after the Bucks rookie season ended in 2014, Antetokounmpo wandered around a table in Mandalay Bay, filled with his plates. The Las Vegas Summer League was one of the first ceremonies for beginners and college students, that still needed some work to polish their skills, and the 19-year-old Antetokounmpo gained additional representation after losing his first season.