Nigerian-Greek NBA star and reigning two-time MVP Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo has signed a record-breaking, five-year supermax contract extension deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, a statement released by the team on Tuesday said.
At $228.2 million, this is said to be the largest deal in NBA history, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported. The basketball star’s agent, Alex Saratsis, told ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski that the deal also includes an opt-out after the fourth year.
“This is my home, this is my city,” the 26-year-old tweeted after Tuesday’s announcement. “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.”
Antetokounmpo would have become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021 had he turned down the offer. Though the Bucks, who were one of the teams tipped to win the 2020 NBA Championship, had a somewhat disappointing season, Antetokounmpo still had a stand-out campaign, winning the Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row as well as the Defensive Player of the Year. The “Greek Freak”, as he’s popularly known, joins the likes of NBA legends Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to have won both awards in the same season.
For the season, the franchise player also averaged 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds – both career highs – as well as 5.6 assists per game. He also had a player efficiency rating of 31.9 – the highest ever in an NBA season, ESPN reported. Under him, the Milwaukee Bucks ended the last two regular seasons with the best record in the franchise’s history.
“This is a big moment for me and my family and I want to thank the Bucks organization for believing in us,” Antetokounmpo said. “You took a chance on us eight years ago and now putting my signature on a contract like this is unreal.”
From humble beginnings, Antetokounmpo was born in Greece to Nigerian parents. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th overall pick in 2013 following a stint with Greek basketball team Filathlitikos.
In an interview with The Undefeated in 2019, Antetokounmpo spoke about his upbringing in a Nigerian household in Greece and how it has shaped his life.
“I grew up in a Nigerian home,” he said. “Obviously, I was born in Greece and and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when I go home, there is no Greek culture. It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals.”
And though the NBA star is yet to visit his parents’ home country of Nigeria, he expressed his desire to go there soon.
“I want to see where my family comes from, where my mom was raised, see my family, see where my dad was raised. That is very important. I hope my kids can do the same thing for me,” he said. “Obviously, I am going to have kids that are going to grow up in the U.S., but one day I hope they can go back [to Greece] and visit and see where I grew up, the playground I was playing.”