The Greek Freak wanted to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks.
After signing a reported three-year, $186-million extension with the franchise on Monday, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke about the loyalty he feels toward the organization.
“For me, one of my, I don’t know, disadvantages, I’ll say, (is) that I’m very loyal,” Antetokounmpo said, according to The Athletic’s Eric Nehm. “Even though you might hurt me or do something to me, I always try to forgive you and see the best in you. If you were there for me in the beginning, I’m there for you for the rest of our lifetime. For the Milwaukee Bucks organization, they’ve been there with me since the beginning; they changed my life.”
He added, “They’ve changed my life tremendously. … They respect who I am as a person and what I’ve done for the city of Milwaukee. And for that, I can’t turn my back. Not now, not in the future, not never. And I want to be committed. I want to give back to the city of Milwaukee. We won one championship, but I believe that we can win a second.”
The Bucks have undergone a major roster transformation, trading for seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard to pair with Antetokounmpo while also re-signing key veterans Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez earlier in the offseason.
Antetokounmpo, 28, openly questioned his future with the franchise over the summer, remarking that he was willing to leave “if there’s a better situation” for a championship run.
Milwaukee drafted Antetokounmpo with the No. 15 pick in 2013. Since then, he’s turned into one of the best development success stories in the league – winning two MVP awards, five All-NBA first-team nods, and delivering the franchise a championship in 2021.
The Bucks star says that signing the extension will put his focus solely on basketball.
“I knew in my heart that I wanted to stay,” Antetokounmpo said, according to Nehm. “I don’t want people, when we lose a game, to come back and say, ‘Oh, Giannis is being irritated. He doesn’t like what’s going on. He’s going to leave, blah, blah, blah.’ No, the conversation right now is going to be straight basketball.”
The Bucks open their season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.