In today’s NBA world, where loyalty is less common than a total solar eclipse, we just witnessed the biggest deal in basketball history. Giannis Antetokounmpo inked a five-year, $228M super-max extension to stay with the team that took him with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 draft, the Milwaukee Bucks.
With two Most Valuable Player Awards, a Most Improved Player Award, and a Defensive Player of the Year Award all under his belt – plus All NBA honors for the past four seasons – it would be hard to envisage a world where Milwaukee didn’t offer “The Greek Freak” the super-max deal.
What was hard to reconcile was that a player of this caliber and esteem didn’t try to get tricky and simply signed it. The simple signing was a breath of fresh air to me, tired of the star player pushing organizations who pay them millions of dollars a year to play a game that they love to the brink of implosion. Many thought that this would have dragged out as the Greek ‘decision’ for over a year, given the NBA media a thousand hours of Giannis ‘where-to-next’ watch, and let teams around the league salivate at the thought of making a bulk order of brand new #34 jerseys for their team and fans with their logo on the front and a name you have to Google to spell correctly on the back (I really did have to Google his name).
Instead, Giannis has given some validity to the super-max contract, hope to small-market teams, but more importantly, it has shown that loyalty is still something that exists in today’s sporting world. Giannis said back in 2017 via Twitter:
I got loyalty inside my DNA 🦌— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) July 7, 2017
Guess what? He proved it! His talents are not going to South Beach or Hollywood. They are staying firmly put in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – an 11-hour flight from his home in Greece, maybe ten now that he’ll surely be eying down a brand new private jet of his own for the Summers.
So the Bucks have done everything (almost) right to keep their franchise star. Let’s hope, not just for them but the NBA, that they can bring home a championship so that loyalty like this can be replicated and the NBA grows to keep its team’s unique identities. Not just continue to become a Contiki Career Player Dominant school ground, where stars have to bully billionaires into playing with their friends. As Giannis said, “let’s get it”!
Catch you next time my Lazy friends.