Superteam Not Necessary

Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed loyal to the team that drafted him, and now the Bucks are NBA champions.

“It’s easy to go somewhere and win a championship with somebody else,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after clinching. “I could go to a superteam, do my part, and win a championship … but I did it the hard way.”

The hard way was a legendary, 50-point masterpiece in which he dominated the entire game:

  • Seventh 50-point game in NBA Finals history
  • First player with 50 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks in a playoff game since blocks were first tracked in 1974
  • Joined Michael Jordan as the only players with multiple MVPs, a Defensive Player of the Year, and a Finals MVP
  • Joined Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win MVP, DPOY, and Finals MVP

In 2014, a year after being selected No. 15, Giannis vowed to stay in Milwaukee until it was a “championship-level team.” 

The Bucks were never the prototypical superteam, but the front office built a league champ anchored by Giannis’ five-year, $228 million supermax and the right supporting pieces.

The Larry O’Brien Trophies may keep coming: Milwaukee’s Big Three will be together until at least 2023, and Giannis is staying until at least 2026.

Add in key role players Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, and Pat Connaughton — all Bucks next season — and it’s not hard to imagine a back-to-back champ.