By Melissa Rohlin
FOX Sports activities NBA reporter
With one tweet, Giannis Antetokounmpo ended months of agony for himself.
The 26-year-old will not should reply for each facial features all through the season. He will not be hounded for his response every time the Milwaukee Bucks lose a giant sport. He will not be a part of the rumor mill that swallows up gamers entire and spits them out emotionally exhausted and bodily drained.
On Tuesday morning, Antetokounmpo posted a photograph of himself in a Bucks uniform and introduced he had agreed to a five-year contract extension with the franchise.
“That is my residence, that is my metropolis,” he wrote. “I’m blessed to have the ability to be part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the subsequent 5 years. Let’s make these years rely. The present goes on, let’s get it.”
It is a sigh of reduction for Antetonkounmpo, a person who values privateness. And it is even higher information for the NBA.
A famous person selected to remain in a small-market.
In a league the place prime gamers usually go for the brilliant lights of massive cities and the publicity and monetary windfalls that accompany them, Antetokounmpo selected to shirk that development.
All big-market groups.
However Antetokounmpo, whom the Bucks chosen with the fifteenth general decide within the 2013 NBA draft, selected to remain put. He reportedly agreed to a $228 million supermax contract, probably the most profitable deal in league historical past.
If Antetokounmpo hadn’t signed the extension, he would’ve been the most important free agent to hit the market in years. Final season, he averaged 29.5 factors, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists, rating third within the league in each scoring and rebounding.
He turned the third participant in NBA historical past to win MVP and Defensive Participant of the 12 months in the identical season, alongside Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon. It was his second straight MVP award.
If he entered the free market, it might’ve been a circus.
As an alternative, it was a coup for small-market groups that always battle to retain prime expertise within the period of participant empowerment.
Antetokounmpo, who’s from Greece, did not select to go to a glitzy metropolis with coastal views. He is not anxious about Milwaukee’s potential to draw elite free brokers. He is not questioning if his model will undergo.
He believes in himself and the items round him. And he needs to concentrate on basketball. Interval.
Different gamers have discovered success that means.
Tim Duncan turned the small-market San Antonio Spurs right into a vacation spot group, main them to 5 NBA championships and 19-straight playoff appearances, a streak they grew to 22 after he retired in 2016.
Dirk Nowitzki spent his 21-season profession with the Dallas Mavericks – a big-market group, however not the greatest market group – main them to an unbelievable championship in 2011 over the stacked Warmth, who had James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
In a way, Duncan’s and Nowitzki’s titles meant greater than gamers who gained them by ditching comparatively neglected markets to group up with superstars.
In a means, it earned them extra respect. Extra credibility.
That was by no means clearer than when James gained titles with the Warmth alongside Wade and Bosh in 2012 and 2013. Many questioned whether or not he may obtain that degree of success on his personal with out being flanked by two different Corridor of Famers.
Many thought he did not actually show himself till he gained a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
Equally, Durant was harshly criticized by each followers and pundits when he left the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors in 2016 to affix forces with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
The 2 titles Durant gained there – in 2017 and 2018 – have usually been discounted, regardless of the excellence of the Warriors’ on-court chemistry and off-court wage cap administration.
Antetokounmpo will not have that challenge.
He selected to remain.
The Bucks tried to do their half, too, most notably buying Jrue Holiday in a four-team commerce in alternate for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and three future first-round picks. Vacation is a talented defender and playmaker who offers the group an improve on the level guard place.
Milwaukee additionally deepened its bench and practically received its fingers on an elite offensive weapon in Bogdan Bogdanovic, however that deal was botched.
The league does properly when its big-market groups are profitable. However it’s simply as important to have intrigue and competitors unfold throughout the nation in a way that is not fully lopsided.
Antetokounmpo made an announcement Tuesday.
Though the Bucks have did not compete for a championship regardless of their lofty expectations the previous few years, Antetokounmpo thinks they are often contenders.
He needs to show that.
If he does, will probably be a convincing solution to cement his legacy. Nobody may query him. Nobody may level to whom he teamed up alongside. Nobody may say something in any respect.
It is a win-win for Antetokounmpo, actually.
He quieted all the noise through the season.
And any that might come after it.
Melissa Rohlin is an NBA reporter for FOX Sports activities. She has beforehand coated the league for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Instances, the Bay Space Information Group and the San Antonio Categorical-Information.
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