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Giannis Antetokounmpo Leads Bucks to Eastern Conference Finals

Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks
Credit: Keith Allison, CC 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Bucks to the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday after an epic win 115-111 in overtime in Game 7 against the Brooklyn Nets.

It was the NBA’s first do-or-die game to go to overtime in 15 years and the Greek Freak had an amazing performance with 40 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.

Nets Kevin Durant, who did everything humanly possible to carry the Nets, took a 3-pointer to win the game with only seconds remaining, but came up short to allow Milwaukee to escape with the victory.

The Bucks, who are now playing in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2019, will now face the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers. If they win there, they will advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974.

“At the end of the day, I try not to get too high, not to get too low. But I almost got emotional a little bit out there because the team really tried their best,” Antetokounmpo said. “We kept our composure. We were down 2-0. A lot of people didn’t believe we could make it.”

Antetokounmpo may be the superstar advancing, but he was quick to acknowledge Durant’s heroic performance. The Nets star scored 48 points, the most ever in a Game 7. In his post-game interview, he called Durant the best player in the NBA.

This game, like most Game 7s, quickly devolved into a tense, physical affair, with both teams struggling to get consistent offense going outside of its stars. The result was a performance that felt more like an endurance contest than a basketball game for all involved.

Antetokounmpo twice the NBA Most Valuable Player

Born in Greece to Nigerian parents, Antetokounmpo began playing basketball for the youth teams of Filathlitikos in Athens. In 2011, he began playing for the club’s senior team before entering the 2013 NBA draft, where he was selected 15th overall by the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo’s nationality, in addition to his combination of size, speed and ball-handling skills earned him the nickname “Greek Freak”.

Antetokounmpo won back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in 2019 and 2020, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to win two MVPs before turning 26.

Along with his MVP award, he was also named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2020, becoming only the third player after Michael Jordan (1988) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1994) to win both awards in the same season.

Upcoming movie on the Greek Freak

Giannis Antetokounmpo gave a series of interviews to Jim Paschke recently, where he spoke about the upcoming film that is being produced about him and his life journey.

The Greek Freak said that the movie will not be just about his life, but also for his family.

”…about what they went through in order to raise us to become who we are. What they had to do in order for us to put us in a position to have the opportunity to be successful,” Giannis noted.

”Obviously, I had a great childhood, but it was tough,” the Milwaukee player said.  ”I had to do what I had to do, I had to help my family because we didn’t have money,” he added.

”But, the real heroes are my parents, because they had to do all that a thousand times more,” the Greek player noted emphatically in an emotional moment during this interview.

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