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Antetokounmpo Thanks Budenholzer for ‘Five Meaningful Years’

Antetokounmpo Budenholzer
Greek Freak shared a photo of him hugging Budenholzer during their 2021 championship win. Credit: Instagram/Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo thanked former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer for “five meaningful years” after the NBA club sacked him last week.

“We accomplished something unbelievable and I’m forever grateful,” the Greek Freak wrote on Instagram.

Following the Bucks’ shocking first-round exit at the hands of the Miami Heat, the Bucks opted to part ways with Budenholzer. Milwaukee finished the 2022-23 season with the best record (58-24) in the NBA, so there were high expectations that they would be able to compete for the title and even bring another Larry O’Brien Trophy home.

And so when they lost to the eighth seed in the East, the Bucks just felt it was time for a change.

Budenholzer also posted a statement on Instagram thanking the city of Milwaukee after five seasons with the team.

“The city of Milwaukee and the entire Bucks organization took us in and treated us like were part of their own family,” he wrote.

“Every door that was opened, every corner that was turned, every need that was met for the entire five years helped us find our way and become part of the city.”

Antetokounmpo thrived under Budenholzer

Budenholzer led the Bucks to the 2021 NBA Finals championship, the team’s first title since 1971. In total, the coach spent five seasons in Milwaukee and produced a 271–120 record. He exits as the team’s most successful head coach with a win percentage of over 69%.

“Together we won an NBA Championship,” he continued. “The memories of the parade, watching the entire city celebrating with the players and staff as the buses made their way through the streets of Milwaukee, that is something we will all cherish forever.”

As a result, Budenholzer is one of only two head coaches to win an NBA championship with the organization, joining Larry Costello.

In the statement, Budenholzer thanked many members of the organization, including members of this year’s team and from the past specifically by name, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.

He thanked the owners and front office members as well and finally, the fans.

“To have a place in the history of the city, the history of the Bucks organization, for that, I will be grateful,” he said. “In my mind, there was no better place to work than for the Bucks, and for Milwaukee. Thank you…It’s time for a beer…and some sun on one of the lakes. Best, Coach Bud.”

Under coach Budenholzer Antetokounmpo became one of the most decorated players in NBA history. He won consecutive 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.

In 2021, Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to their first NBA championship since 1971 and was named Finals MVP. The same year, he was honored as one of the league’s greatest players of all time by being named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team.

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