Giannis Antetokounmpo's amazing 50-point show leads Bucks to first NBA title in 50 years as 65,000 celebrate in fan park

Giannis Antetokounmpo's amazing 50-point show leads Bucks to first NBA title in 50 years as 65,000 celebrate in fan park


GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years with one of the greatest performances in Finals history.

The Bucks last won the title in 1971, with a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leading the charge.

But Milwaukee completed an astonishing Finals turnaround to beat the Phoenix Suns to finally get their hands on the Larry O'Brien trophy once more.

Leading the series 3-2, the Bucks went into Game 6 knowing this was their best chance of winning a title in five decades – with a loss meaning Game 7 in Arizona.

Playing in front of their home crowd, Mike Budenholzer's team were clearly fired up and got off to a flying start, only to be pegged back by the Suns – led by superstar point guard Chris Paul.

But 'Greek Freak' Antetokounmpo was a man on a mission, desperate to prove signing his five-year super-max contract worth £168million last year was the right decision.

Many had believed Giannis would have to quit Milwaukee to form a 'super-team', much like Kevin Durant and LeBron James before him, to win a title.

But Antetokounmpo, still only 26, won the crown his way – what he called 'the hard way', after the game.

The 6ft 11in star poured in 50 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked FIVE shots in Game 6 to take the game away from Phoenix.

The Bucks ultimately won 105-98 to get their hands on the trophy – as Antetokounmpo was rightly awarded the Finals MVP crown.

Giannis averaged a staggering 35.2 points per game in the Finals as he dragged his team to victory – fulfilling a promise made SEVEN YEARS ago.

In 2014 – and just one year into his professional career – the Greek Freak tweeted: "I'll never leave the team and the city of Milwaukee till we build the team to a championship level team.."

And now, he's lived up to his promise and was left in tears on the court after the Game 6 win, clearly overwhelmed as a raucous Fiserv Forum and the 65,000-strong crowd, more than 10 per cent of Milwaukee's population, in the fan park celebrated.


After the game, Antetokounmpo said: “I want to thank Milwaukee for believing in me.

"I want to thank my team-mates, man. They played hard every fricking game.

"I trusted this team. I wanted to do it here in this city. I wanted to do it with these guys.

"I’m happy. I’m happy we were able to get it done.”

Giannis' win proved he made the right decision staying in Wisconsin.

Last year, the Bucks crashed out in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in the Orlando bubble – obliterated 4-1 by a Jimmy Butler-led Miami Heat.

At the time, it was believed Giannis would refuse to sign a new contract at enter free agency, with many fans suggesting coach Budenholzer had taken the team as far as he could.

But the Bucks stayed loyal to Bud and Giannis stayed loyal to the city.

Milwaukee went all in to win the title, trading away a host of future draft picks to build a roster capable of taking the next step.

The Bucks brought in Jrue Holiday last year, with his sensational defensive play a huge upgrade on predecessor Eric Bledsoe.

The likes of PJ Tucker and Bobby Portis also arrived, with both playing key roles in the Bucks' run to the title.

Milwaukee only finished the regular season in third place – with their playoff run anything but easy.

After getting revenge on Miami with a 4-0 first-round series sweep, they came up against the favourites for the title – the Brooklyn Nets – in the Conference semis.

The Bucks trailed the seven-game series 2-0 and 3-2 – only to roar past James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin, Durant and Co 4-3 with a late rally.

Milwaukee also lost their series opener against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern finals – but recovered to win 4-2.

The NB Finals were billed as the battle of the 'small-market' teams – with no Los Angeles or New York based teams making it.

No 'super-teams' reached the finals either, with neutrals thrilled by both Milwaukee and Phoenix's Cinderella stories.

For the Bucks, it was about getting Giannis his title – for Phoenix, it was a case of getting CP3 his first-ever ring, with the veteran superstar now 36 in what was possibly his last chance.

But both key men were ably assisted by their team-mates all series.

Khris Middleton – arguably the most underrated player in the NBA – continued to prove his doubters wrong as he lit up the playoffs.

Devin Booker fought tooth and nail to keep the Suns' hopes alive all series too, but ultimately was overpowered by Giannis and Co.

Now, Phoenix's long wait for a debut title will continue – at least for another year.

After the game, Budenholzer poured praise on Giannis, saying: "I've learned so much from him. He's a special leader.

"These players are champions every day. They've embraced getting better every day."

But for the Suns, the pain was too much, as Booker said: "I haven't felt a hurt like this in my life. This isn't something you want to feel."


Coach Monty Williams added: "It's hard to process right now. It's hard. That's all.

"I've never dealt with this kind of hurt as a head coach.

"There's just a pain that goes with your season being over, but I've never dealt with this.

"I know this is going to hurt for a while."

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