From Athens’ streets to Gods’ heights

Yesterday July 20, Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered an all-time performance during NBA Finals game 6 as he clinched his first NBA title. After going through waves of critics, after being crowned 2x NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, the Greek Freak finally got his ring, a well deserved ring, ultimate achievement of a long and hard journey.

Born and raised in Athens, built by the deer

Giannis’ story is one of a kind, the one we like to hear about. A kid born and raised by a city who always had mystical heights and sports in its DNA. Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo really fits with Athens’ DNA, the city that raised him, the city that gave him the strength to become who he is. I’m not gonna talk about Giannis’ story again as we all know how it started and how he became a basketball player but I gotta say that looking at what Athens’ history and legends are about, Giannis’ journey to the top of the NBA is even more beautiful.

Giannis Antetokounmpo really deserved this ring as he worked hard for it. Things went fast for the Greek Freak : drafted at the 15th place of 2013 draft, nothing predestined him to such a success but here he is : 2 times MVP, DPOY, Finals MVP and NBA champion. A lot of people and players doubted him, mocked him and critiziced him for only playing with his muscles in the past seasons but Giannis never changed as perfectly used the physical advantage he had to crush the adversity, while he also started to improve his shooting skills. Yes, he’s taking too many time to shoot his free throws, yes he’s Ben Simmons’ best friend behind the 3pts line, yes he’s far from being the most beautiful player to watch but you know what ? It worked. And it worked pretty well. A month ago I was talking about Jokic’s MVP and how important it is to see a guy like Jokic being crowned MVP. It feels the same when it comes to Giannis. He did what he had to do, used his body as a lethal weapon but moreover, used his determination and roughness he learned back then in Athens’ streets. His family and childhood built him as a person, the Milwaukee Bucks built him as basketball player champion. Just like the old heroes who wrote the legends of Athens, Giannis started his own journey, a journey to the top, full of obstacles and full of defeats, but a journey with a worthy reward : not the Acropole, not God’s power but the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Yesterday in Milwaukee, Giannis had the blood of the old Gods in him.

If we want to talk about pure basketball, Giannis’ NBA title at only 26 years old after getting two MVPs and one DPOY trophy already rank him as one of the greatest power-forward the NBA ever seen. He’ll need more wins and trophies to be rank right besides Duncan and Nowitzki but he’s already and without a doubt a member of the top 5 greatest power-forwards. Regarding the Milwaukee Bucks, the story is as beautiful as Giannis’s one. A small market team, champion 50 years ago who counted on young players development and a team with collective ressources. After failing against an unstoppable Raptors team in 2019, after being crushed by Miami last year, Milwaukee came back for 3rd round, with a better team, a better Giannis and it worked as they triumphed against an injured but still highly dangerous Nets team and a surprising Hawks team before coming back from a 2-0 Suns lead in the finals. Next year, Milwaukee will have to keep working on the team they have right now, in order to be a contender for the next 2-3 seasons but for now they can enjoy this ring, they deserve it.