NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo slammed other basketball players who left their cities to join “super teams.”
He scored 50 points and added 14 rebounds and five blocks in the Bucks’ second championship and first in 50 years.
“I couldn’t leave. There was a job that had to be finished,” Antetokounmpo said.
“I feel like the bubble did not pay us justice. Give credit to the Miami Heat. They played great, but it did not pay us justice. Everybody was feeling homesick. We are a family-oriented team, wanted to see our families.”
He added, “But coming back, I was like, ‘This is my city. They trust me. They believe in me. They believe in us.’ Even when we lost the city was still on our side, obviously I wanted to get the job done.”
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers will find offensive.
“I could go to a superteam and just do my part and win a championship but this is the hard way to do it and this is the way we chose to do it. And we did it, we f—king did it.” – Giannis pic.twitter.com/vk2b8UJaH9
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 21, 2021
The Bucks had suffered a devastating defeat in the 2020 conference semifinals to the Miami Heat.
“But that’s my stubborn side. It’s easy to go somewhere and go win a championship with somebody else. It’s easy. I could go — I don’t want to put anybody on the spot — but I could go to a super team and just do my part and win a championship,” Antetokounmpo said.
“But this is the hard way to do it, and this is the way to do it and we did it.”
Without naming anyone by name, Antetokounmpo seems to have been referring to players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and James Harden, who left their original teams to join a team to pursue a championship with other NBA stars.
James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2003 NBA draft and famously left in 2010 to sign as a free agent with the Maimi Heat after he failed to win a championship.
James’ decision was almost universally criticized, as Sports Illustrated reported.
Some Cavaliers fans even burned his jersey after he left.
In 2014, Antetokounmpo tweeted that he would not leave Milwaukee until the Bucks earned a championship.
I’ll never leave the team and the city of Milwaukee till we build the team to a championship level team..
— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) July 17, 2014
In 2020, he signed a five-year, $228 million supermax extension, according to the New York Post.
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