The championship celebrations have continued for the Milwaukee Bucks, with the team and staff visiting The White House during their trip to Washington D.C.
It was a special day for the team, who broke a 50-year title drought by defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games to claim the 2021 NBA championship.
For Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, it was the continuation of a remarkable journey of a kid from Greece with a dream.
“A kid from Sepolia, Athens Greece. Grew up to two Nigerian parents who were struggling every day to provide for us,” Antetokounmpo said.
“Illegal in a country that they didn’t call home at the time. It’s an unbelievable opportunity to be in The White House, meeting the President of the United States. I could not be as honored and as happy that I become something like this in my life.
“Our families are a big part of who we are and what we do. They made a lot of sacrifices to enable us to win a championship. They are not here with us today but we always carry them in our hearts. I want to thank our families. They are a big part of what we do.”
President Biden, with Antetokounmpo on his left, marveled at the achievements of the Milwaukee superstar.
“Congratulations to the staff and the fans and everyone here to celebrate. Most of all congratulations to all the players. I know you’ve got the Finals MVP here and I’d like to talk about it for just a minute,” Biden said.
“Giannis, 50 points. 50 points to seal Game 6 to win the first championship since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson won it for the Bucks. Finals MVP, 2-time NBA MVP, 5-time All-Star and just named on the list as one of the 75 greatest players ever. At just 26 years old, you’re just getting started. What makes it even more special is you won the title with your brother who is here today and you join another brother already with a ring.
“What a hell of a family, I tell ya what, I think you won the gene pool. Sons living the dream of an immigrant family from Nigeria and Greece in search of a new opportunity. In struggles, they always dreamed. Brothers who once had to share the same basketball shoes before they got to the NBA.
“I know your mom is so proud of you watching, and your dad is looking down watching over you. Your baby boys will grow up knowing anything is possible.”
Antetokounmpo was dominant throughout the postseason, enduring a gruesome hyperextension of his knee to miss just two games in the Eastern Conference Finals before going on to post historic Finals numbers.
The title came in year eight for Antetokounmpo, with the success far removed from his rookie season where the team finished with a 15-67 record.
“Thanks to Bucks fans. We have the best fans in the world. They supported us from day one,” Antetokounmpo said.
“They supported us when we were the worst team in the NBA and eight years later we’re the best team in the NBA and we couldn’t do it without them.
“For everybody out there, this is a great example that with hard work, with sacrifices, if you dedicate yourself waking up every single day and get better in anything you do, in anything you love and believe in your dreams you can accomplish great things in life.
“I’ve done that my whole life and I’m in The White House… this is awesome. You can never take moments like this for granted but without hard work, it would not be possible.”