"Let's have fun, win and make these years count". That is the message from Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo after his supermax contract extension.
Antetokounmpo pledged his future to the Bucks with a mammoth five-year contract – reportedly worth $228million – following speculation over his future entering the final year of his previous deal.
The two-time reigning NBA MVP has called Milwaukee home since he was drafted 15th in 2013, and pursuing the Bucks' first championship since 1971, he said: "This is a big moment for me and my family and I want to thank the Bucks organisation for believing in us.
"You took a chance on us eight years ago and now putting my signature on a contract like this is unreal – but it's all because of hard work.
"This is my home and I'm going to continue working hard and do my best to make the Bucks, our fans and the city proud. Let's have fun, win and make these years count."
Antetokounmpo was crowned the NBA's MVP for the second straight year after leading the Bucks to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the league's best record (56-17) before losing in the semi-finals at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The "Greek Freak" – who averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game during the regular season – became the first player to claim MVP honours in successive seasons since Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry in 2015 and 2016.
Antetokounmpo was the only player that ranked in the top five in scoring and rebounding in 2019-20 among qualifying players. The last player to do it on the team with the most wins in the NBA that season was Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal in 1999-00.
Of all players to rank in the top five of both points per game and rebounds per game, Antetokounmpo was doing it averaging the fewest minutes per game (30.4).��For context, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid ranked in the top five last season with 33.7 minutes per game.
"Giannis is a once-in-a-generation player and we are beyond excited for him to remain with the Bucks," said Bucks co-owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan. "Giannis positively impacts everyone around him on and off the court and he brings a staggering dedication to winning and leadership to our organisation.
“One of one.”https://t.co/3HgRwof2L6— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 16, 2020
"His work ethic and desire to be the best epitomise what the Bucks stand for and what our future holds. We thank Giannis and his family for their long-term commitment to Milwaukee and we look forward to many years of success. This is a momentous day for the Bucks, our fans and the state of Wisconsin."
Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in points per game, total rebounds per game and assists per game last season. He also did this last season and also in 2016-17. If not for team-mate Eric Bledsoe barely beating him out in assists per game in 2017-18, Antetokounmpo would have led Milwaukee in these categories for a fourth consecutive season.
There have been 15 instances in which a player has averaged 25.0-plus points per game, 10.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game in a season. Antetokounmpo has two of these instances, in 2019-20 and last term. The 26-year-old joined Russell Westbrook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only players to average these numbers in multiple seasons.
This is my home, this is my city.. I’m blessed to be able to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years. Let’s make these years count. The show goes on, let’s get it. pic.twitter.com/895tCBE9RK— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) December 15, 2020
Not since Abdul-Jabbar in 1972-73 (30.2ppg, 16.1rbg and 5.0apg) had a player enjoyed a season with 29.0-plus points per game, 13.0-plus rebounds per game and 5.0-plus assists per game. Chamberlain achieved the feat twice in 1963-64 (36.9ppg, 22.3rbg and 5.0apg) and 1965-66 (33.5ppg, 24.6rbg and 5.2apg), while Elgin Baylor had averages of 34.8ppg, 19.8rbg and 5.1apg in 1960-61.
"Giannis' NBA career began as an 18-year-old from the Sepolia neighbourhood north of Athens, Greece," Bucks general manager Jon Horst said. "Through hard work, determination and an unequalled desire to be the best, Giannis has developed into a relentlessly driven, 26-year-old, two-time Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year and four-time All-Star for the Milwaukee Bucks.
"He's an incredible team-mate, a kind and caring person, an affable member of the Milwaukee community, and the leader of our team who sets the tone for our organisation. We are thrilled for Giannis and his family and are tremendously proud to sign him to this well-deserved contract extension."