Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul, 36, ready to 'get back to work,' not considering retirement after NBA Finals loss

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ESPN 21 July, 2021 - 02:24am 21 views

Who won the NBA championship this year 2021?

Giannis Antetokounmpo was crowned NBA Finals MVP after leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their first championship since 1971 in a six-game series win over the Phoenix Suns. CBSSports.comGiannis Antetokounmpo wins 2021 NBA Finals MVP: Bucks star becomes youngest winner since Kawhi Leonard in 2014

Who is Giannis brother?

July 21 (Reuters) - Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo became NBA champions on Tuesday with the Milwaukee Bucks, putting them level with younger brother Kostas and making them the first trio of brothers to win a league title. ReutersAntetokounmpo siblings become first trio of brothers to win NBA titles

How many people are in the Deer district?

NOW: Deer District starts turning away fans before halftime, crowd projected at 65,000. WDJTNOW: Deer District starts turning away fans before halftime, crowd projected at 65000

Who won Game 6 last night?

The Milwaukee Bucks pulled out a tough 105-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 on Tuesday night to win their first title in 50 years. CBSSports.comBucks vs. Suns, NBA Finals score, takeaways: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee win franchise's second title

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 50 points in Game 6 of NBA Finals, Milwaukee Bucks win club's 1st NBA title since 1971

ESPN 21 July, 2021 - 06:00am

MILWAUKEE -- In the immediate aftermath of a legendary performance to close out the 2021 NBA Finals and win a championship for the first time in his career, Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo declared that he signed his supermax contract extension prior to the season because "there was a job that had to be finished," and that staying in Milwaukee meant doing it the "hard way."

"I just couldn't leave," Antetokounmpo said after putting up 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to lead Milwaukee to a 105-98 victory in Game 6 of the NBA Finals over the Phoenix Suns, delivering the Bucks their second championship -- and first in 50 years. "There was a job that had to be finished.

"Coming back, I was like, 'This is my city. They trust me. They believe in me. They believe in us.' ... obviously I wanted to get the job done. 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 put -- I could go to a super team and just do my part and win a championship.

"But this is the hard way to do it," he continued, pounding the dais for emphasis, "and this is the way to do it, and we did it. We f---ing did it."

1: Only player in NBA history with 5 All-Star selections, 5 All-NBA selections, multiple MVPs, 1 Finals MVP and 1 DPOY before his 27th birthday

2: Second season players born outside the U.S. won MVP (Nikola Jokic), Finals MVP (Giannis Antetokounmpo) and DPOY (Rudy Gobert) along with 1993-94 when Hakeem Olajuwon swept all three awards

3: Joins Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as only players to win MVP, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year since the DPOY's inception in 1983

5: Fifth player born outside the U.S. to win Finals MVP, joining Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon

9: Ninth player to win multiple MVPs and a Finals MVP in his career. The only players to do this at the age of 26 or younger are Tim Duncan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Antetokounmpo, who came into the postgame news conference wearing goggles, carrying a cigar and drinking out of a full bottle of champagne, eventually sat down at the dais with the Finals MVP trophy on one side and the Larry O'Brien Trophy on the other.

It was the culmination of a career that began in the Greek second division, where he first made a name for himself playing in Athens, before eventually being drafted 15th overall by the Bucks in 2013.

In thinking back on all of the people who helped him reach this point -- from his mother, to his late father, to his longtime girlfriend, to his brothers -- Antetokounmpo got emotional as he tried to express how much all of their sacrifices and support over the years had meant to him.

"This is for my mom," he said, fighting off tears. "She works extremely hard every day for me to be in this position, and she never pressured me to do other things. This is for my dad. He's watching from above, and he can see it. This is for my significant other. Every day, she helps me be a better person. She lets me do what I'm supposed to do, She takes care of my son. And for my brothers.

"I can be stubborn sometimes. I can disconnect myself from the world because I want this so bad. And I was able to get it, that's why I was tearing up. But like people helped me be in this position. I didn't do this by myself. Every freaking day people helped me. I want to thank everyone."

Antetokounmpo might have had plenty of help in getting to this point, but with Milwaukee's championship aspirations on the line, it was Antetokounmpo who hoisted the Bucks -- and the more than 80,000 fans jammed both into and outside of Fiserv Forum -- onto his broad shoulders and carried them over the finish line.

On his way to equaling Hall of Famer Bob Pettit's record 50 points in a closeout game, Antetokounmpo scored 33 of his 50 points in the second half, leading Milwaukee back from a halftime deficit and simply refusing to allow the Bucks to let this opportunity to win a championship on their home court slip away from them.

He repeatedly tore through Phoenix's defense and got to the rim time and again, and made one free throw after another -- eventually going 17-for-19 for the game -- after having his issues at the line become a story time and again throughout these playoffs.

"People told me I cannot make free throws," Antetokounmpo said with a huge smile. "I made my free throws tonight and I'm a freaking champion.

"I made them when I'm supposed to make them."

So much about this run to the championship for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks fit into the framework of it happened when it was supposed to happen. Milwaukee had been the NBA's dominant team in the regular season each of the past two years, only to fall short in the playoffs -- first in the Eastern Conference finals against the Toronto Raptors two years ago, then in the conference semifinals against the Miami Heat last year.

But both Antetokounmpo and the Bucks came back with a resolve to make sure things went differently this year. The team went out and traded for Jrue Holiday before the season and P.J. Tucker during it. Coach Mike Budenholzer spent the season trying to prepare the team for the playoffs as best as possible, instead of trying to maximize the regular season.

And, once the postseason arrived, the bumps and bruises and past failures the Bucks went through allowed them to overcome deficits in each of the final three series they played in -- including being down 2-0 to both the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals and the Suns in this series -- before storming back to win.

Instead, he returned a week later and put together one of the most impressive NBA Finals performances of all-time, averaging an astounding 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game in the series -- all while shooting 61.8 percent from the field across the six games.

"No, man," he said with a smile, when asked if he ever could've imagined a moment like this when he began playing basketball in Athens all those years ago. "I started playing basketball just to help my family. Tried to get them out of the struggle, the challenges we were facing when we were kids.

"But I never thought I'm going to be 26 years old, with my team playing in the NBA Finals. Just playing -- like, I was just happy just being like not even winning, just being a part of this, of this journey.

"But I never thought I would be sitting here with this right here and this right here," he added, pointing to the two trophies sitting next to him. "We've come a long way."

He also was asked about what it means to him to represent the continent of Africa, as both of his parents are from Nigeria. He said that he hoped his accomplishments could serve as a symbol to others of what is possible for anyone, no matter who you are or where you come from.

"Obviously, I represent my country, both countries, Nigeria and Greece," Antetokounmpo said. "A lot of kids from there. But not just from Nigeria -- all Africa and all Europe.

"I know I'm a role model. But this should make every person, every kid, anybody around the world believe in their dreams. No matter whatever you feel when you're down, when you don't think it's going to happen for you or you might not make it in your career -- might be basketball, might be anything -- just believe in what you're doing and keep working.

"Don't let nobody tell you what you can be and what you cannot do ... Just believe, man. I hope I give people around the world, from Africa, from Europe, hope that it can be done. It can be done.

"Eight years ago, eight and a half years ago, when I came to the league, I didn't know where my next meal will come from. My mom was selling stuff in the street. Now I'm here sitting at the top of the top. I'm extremely blessed. I'm extremely blessed. If I never have a chance to sit on this table ever again, I'm fine with it. I'm fine with it. I hope this can give everybody around the world hope. I want them to believe in their dreams."

He also talked about his own impossible journey throughout this run, going from a player who was an unknown quantity when he left Greece to one that slowly, methodically built himself into the superstar he has become -- just as the Bucks have slowly, methodically built themselves, around Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, into an NBA champion.

"It's been a long journey," he said. "I've done it all, man. I did anything that I could just to be on the court, just to be in this position. I've not played. I've come off the bench. When I was 18, I started on the team. I went to the front office and told them to send me to the G League. I've played point guard. I've only defended. Slashed from the corners and everything. In my fourth year, I was able to lead as a ball handler.

"I've done it all. Tonight, that's what I had to do. I had to do a little bit of everything. I had to defend, I had to rebound, I had to block. Did a little bit of everything."

And, now that he's won one title, Antetokounmpo said he's not satisfied with stopping now.

"This is an addictive feeling," Antetokounmpo said. "I love playing in the playoffs. I love playing in the Finals.

"This is the moments I want to chase. I want the team to build off this and hopefully we can do it again."

Milwaukee’s Championship History

Forbes 21 July, 2021 - 01:47am

Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks won their first NBA title since 1971 and just the third for Wisconsin’s largest city since it became a “major league” city when Major League Baseball’s Braves relocated from Boston ahead of the 1953 season.

Milwaukee’s teams have claimed three championships in the 68 years since. The Braves won the first, claiming the 1957 World Series crown while the Bucks now have two, in 1971 and 2021.

In addition, Milwaukee teams have also played for a championship on three other occasions. As the city celebrates its latest success, here’s a look back at the other times Milwaukee has made it to the championship round:

A cellar-dwelling afterthought in Boston, the Braves became immediate contenders after arriving in Milwaukee where they played in front of record numbers of fans at County Stadium. After finishing a game shy of the NL Pennant in 1956, the Braves rewarded their fans in '57, clinching the pennant on Henry Aaron's walk-off home run on Sept. XXX to set a date with the Yankees in the Fall Classic.

Henry Aaron batted .393 during the series, collecting 11 hits including a triple with three home runs and seven RBIs while left-hander Lew Burdette was named the series’ Most Valuable Player after tossing three complete games, two of them shutouts, while striking out 13 and walking just four.

Though Milwaukee was the nation’s 13th most-populous city according to the 1950 census, members of the Yankees reportedly referred to the city and its raucous fans as “Bushville” ahead of the series and after the Braves clinched a 5-0 victory in Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, the celebration in Downtown Milwaukee featured a large, handheld sign proclaiming “Bushville Wins.”

Back in the World Series for a second straight year, the Braves were a victory away from becoming the first NL team to win back-to-back titles since the 1920-21 New York Giants after Warren Spahn’s two-hitter led Milwaukee to a 3-0 victory in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium.

The Braves, though, wouldn’t win another game as the Yankees broke open a 1-0 game with a six-run sixth to win Game 5, 7-0, then scored two runs in the 10th to take Game 6 and clinched their 18th title — and eighth in a 12-year span — with four two-out runs in the eighth inning of Game 7.

Milwaukee lost a NL tiebreaker series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959 and six years later, the team relocated to Atlanta.

Three years removed from joining the NBA as an expansion team, the Bucks steamrolled their way into the finals behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (still known as Lew Alcindor) and veteran point guard Oscar Robertson, who joined the team in a trade from Cincinnati prior to the season.

The Bucks steamrolled their way through the regular season, finishing 66-16, and are still considered one of the most statistically dominant teams in NBA history. After dispatching the Warriors and Lakers in five games each during the first two rounds of the playoffs, Milwaukee caught a break when Baltimore upset the defending champion Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

With Alcindor and Robertson leading the way, the Bucks breezed through the Finals in four games and clinched the title with a 118-106 victory on April 30 in Baltimore.

Following their first championship, Milwaukee was bounced from the playoffs by the Lakers and Warriors in the two following seasons but returned to the Finals in 1974.

Milwaukee evened the series with a double-overtime thriller in Game 6 at Boston but was blown out, 102-87, two days later in Game 7 at the Milwaukee Arena in what would be the final game of Robertson’s career and the beginning of the end of Abdul-Jabbar’s time with the Bucks, who dealt him to the Lakers a year later after he made it clear he had no intention of remaining with the team after his contract expired.

The Bucks would go 47 years before making it back to the NBA Finals.

After the Braves bolted for Atlanta, Milwaukee went five long years without a baseball team of its own. That changed in 1970, when the bankrupt Seattle Pilots came to town thanks to Bud Selig but it would take almost a decade for the team to become relevant in the American League.

The team, rechristened as the Brewers, earned its first postseason appearance following the strike-shortened 1981 season and was a favorite to win the AL in ‘82, but needed a dramatic victory on the final day of the season to clinch the AL East then had to rally from an 0-2 deficit to advance to its first World Series.

Milwaukee routed the Cardinals, 10-0, in the series opener behind a record five hits from Paul Molitor but dropped the next two games. The Brewers followed with back-to-back victories in Games 4-5 to take a 3-2 lead but were blown out, 13-1, in Game 6 and dropped the decisive Game 7 in St. Louis the next day.

The Brewers, who switched to the National League in 1998, have yet to return to the World Series though came close in 2011 and 2018, losing the NLCS in six and seven games, respectively.

Notably absent from this list are the multiple NFL and Super Bowl Championships won by the Green Bay Packers and while Milwaukee, like the rest of Wisconsin, claims the Packers as their own — and even hosted as many as three regular season games per year through the 1994 season — Green Bay is a hefty distance from Milwaukee.

Because the list focused on Milwaukee’s professional major league teams, Marquette University’s 1970 NIT Championship and 1977 NCAA Championship weren’t included.

Additionally, Milwaukee has had other champions at the minor league level. The Admirals of the American Hockey League won the Calder Cup in 2004 and advanced to the Finals again two years later before falling to the Hershey Bears.

The Milwaukee Wave indoor soccer team has seven championship banners; six of them from the Major Indoor Soccer League as well as the 2019 Major Arena Soccer League title.

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