In December of 2020, Giannis Antetokounmpo made one of the biggest decisions of his life, signing a 5-year extension to stay in Milwaukee instead of exploring free agency this summer. Now, less than 24 hours after winning the NBA Finals, it’s more than clear that he made the right choice by committing to Milwaukee.
Prior to signing the extension, the Dallas Mavericks were one of the teams heavily involved in rumors surrounding the Giannis sweepstakes. If he was to forego signing the extension, Dallas would’ve been a natural landing spot. Would there be a better duo in the league than Luka Doncic and Giannis? Absolutely not. Doncic could do all the ball-handling, Giannis could do all the finishing. Giannis could cover all of Luka’s defensive deficiencies. It would’ve been a match made in basketball heaven.
There were times throughout the 2020-21 season where it felt like Giannis signing the extension was a mistake. The Bucks sold their future for Jrue Holiday, who had his ups and downs during the regular season and the playoffs. There were questions surrounding Khris Middleton’s ability to be a second-option at a championship level. I mean, heck, the Bucks were a toe-length away from being eliminated in Round 2.
Woke up this morning happy for loyal Bucks fans. They deserve it.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) July 21, 2021
And Giannis and Jrue Holiday - better human beings than basketball player.
But also can’t help but think back on Game 7 of the ECF and Kevin Durant’s “big ass foot.”
Game of inches.
An inch shaped legacies… pic.twitter.com/WraglhGqGK
But with all that being said, now that the Bucks are champions, there is no doubt in the world that Giannis made the right choice by sticking with the Bucks.
Any success Doncic and Giannis had together would’ve paled in comparison to what the Bucks did last night. Giannis dropped 50 points in a closeout game in front of a crowd that hasn’t seen a championship banner raised in 50 years. The Bucks are the team that took a chance on him in the draft. Bucks’ fans are the ones who have been buying his jersey for eight years.
It would’ve been awesome to see Luka and Giannis together. And it still would be if Giannis ever decides to leave in the future! But for now, there’s no question that Giannis made the right choice to sign that extension and forego his 2021 free agency. He’ll forever be a hero to the city of Milwaukee and the entire state of Wisconsin. No matter what happens in the future, Giannis has solidified his place in Wisconsin lore.
The Bucks deserve this. Giannis deserves this. The NBA and its fans deserve this. It’s awesome to see a guy stick with his franchise through the ups and downs and ultimately prevail as a champion. As a Mavs fan, I would’ve loved to see Giannis as a free agent this summer. But as a basketball fan, this is the best-case scenario.