Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to stay with ‘Milwaukee Bucks forever’


By the time the books are closed on the 2013 NBA Draft class, the 15th overall pick in that group may wind up being the best of the bunch.

The Milwaukee Bucks chose Greek teenager Giannis Antetokounmpo in that spot and, after showing flashes in his rookie campaign, he emerged as a key contributor on a Bucks team that improved by 26 wins and returned to the playoffs in 2014-15.

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On his blog for EuroHoops.com, Antetokounmpo talked about his feelings toward Milwaukee and the Bucks organization and those sentiments have to make Bucks fans smile huge smiles of delight:

"The Bucks and John Hammond chose me in the draft, got me in the NBA, kept me in the team with a role from my very first season and they are my basketball family. Not only that, but already at this young age, they have enough faith in me as a leader and they are doing everything in order to develop all of my potential. From my side, I feel that I want to be playing in the Bucks. I’m not talking about my next contract. The way I feel now, I want to keep playing for the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 20 years!You never know how life turns out. Three years ago I was thinking that I might be playing for Filathlitikos forever! All of a sudden, the draft emerged, the NBA, the Bucks and everything that followed. I don’t know how I’ll be feeling and thinking in 2, 3 or more years. Right now I feel like I want to play for the Milwaukee Bucks forever."

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Throw this on top of Greg Monroe spurning the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers to sign a three-year free-agent deal with the Bucks, Khris Middleton taking a five-year contract to remain in Milwaukee and the prospect of last year’s second overall pick, Jabari Parker, returning healthy in 2015-16, and the optimism begins to blow off the chart about what the Bucks can do next season and in the future.

As it stands, the Bucks are going to enter next season without a starter older than 25 and there is just a vibe about this team that the sky is the limit.

For a franchise that spent the better part of 30 years mired in the dreaded middle of the pack—with a couple of deep craters mixed in—the change is noticeable.

Even where I live, just east of the state line in Upper Michigan, the buzz around the Bucks is real. The new logo pops up all over the place, where before one could go weeks without ever seeing anyone repping Bucks gear.

There were doubts about coach Jason Kidd’s arrival in Milwaukee last summer, but he proved to be a more than capable mentor to a group of young players hungry to learn, hungry to win.

And with Antetokounmpo sounding like he wants to follow the path taken already this summer by free agents such as Kawhi Leonard and Mark Gasol—who chose to remain in small markets rather than chase the lights of the bigger cities—it’s just another reason to be optimistic about the future of the franchise.

"I’m a guy who doesn’t really care about glamour and big markets. I like to be home all day. I get up in the morning, I take a shower and I go to practice. When I’m finished, the only thing that’s on my mind is to go back home and spend time with my family. I usually feel that I prefer to hide from people.The only consideration that will definitely affect me in terms of basketball is to have a team in the future that will be able to be very competitive and to aim high. I think that in 2-3 years we will have matured as basketball players with Jabari Parker, Michael Carter-Williams and the entire current body of the team will have made progress, guys who are really important.Plus the additions that have been made and that will be made. We’ve also started the project of the new arena, there is a lot of enthusiasm in the fans as well. Everything seems ideal and I believe the conditions will be in place for us to play a leading role. It seems distant now, but in a few years we might reach the level to be thinking about a championship."

For a fan base 41 years removed from its last NBA Finals, those are welcome words indeed.

Next: Antetokounmpo To Play In Africa Exhibition

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