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3 Reasons Giannis is Milwaukee’s Champion On and Off the Court

3 Reasons Giannis is Milwaukee’s Champion On and Off the Court

By Christina Lorey

April 14, 2023

Not many people want to relive 2021… except Bucks fans hoping to repeat one particular part of that year.

Milwaukee is in the hunt for its third championship trophy. And leading the team is #34, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Regardless of whether or not you can pronounce his name (consult this video for clarification) or are even a Bucks fan at all, Giannis has proven to be one of the best guys both on & off the court. 

Whether he’s flying back to his home country during the off-season to give kids opportunities he wish he had when he was their age or simply rolling through the Culver’s drive-thru to order 50 Butterburgers to celebrate another 50-point game, Giannis is one of the best professional athletes. Period.

Here are three reasons anyone can feel good cheering on the ‘Greek Freak!’

1. He’s always helping his hometown. 

During the 2019 offseason, Giannis returned to Greece to host ‘Give N Rise,’ an entertaining basketball/dance show and fundraiser for several charities. Former teammate Eric Bledsoe and current Buck Brook Lopez joined him.

That same year, Giannis and his brothers launched a basketball academy, in partnership with Nike, in Athens known as the AntetokounBros Academy. The project helps provide girls and boys between the ages of 12 & 16, as well as aspiring coaches between the ages of 18 & 25, access to academic and athletic education, in order to give them more career opportunities.

When the pandemic restricted travel to Greece, Giannis donated 10,000 surgical masks to the Athens suburb of Zografou, where he grew up.

2. He also takes care of the town he now calls home. 

Along with Khris Middleton, Giannis led the way and made the first donation of $100,000 toward covering the salaries of Fiserv Forum employees when the pandemic initially suspended the 2020 season.

More recently, he donated 34,000 bottles of protein water to Milwaukee healthcare workers, along with 34,000 bottles and protein bars to the Milwaukee Public School students.

And, as he prepared for the 2023 NBA playoffs, he invited 20 local kids to shoot hoops at his home.

“We walked in the door and we looked down, and there was a whole basketball court there,” 11-year-old DeVon Jackson told Fox6. “When I got to play one-on-one against him, I missed the shot.”

Jackson still said he had the time of his life, and he even got to tell Giannis he wanted to play in the NBA, too, one day.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cq5ndI2Lx0j/

3. He doesn’t just write checks. He takes action. 

On Thanksgiving Day in 2018, Giannis not only donated food and money to a Milwaukee food bank, but showed up to distribute 27,000 meals.

In 2019, he and his teammates suited up in aprons for ‘Coach Bud’s Assist for Hunger Dinner.’ That night, Giannis & company served meals and raised enough money for Feeding America to provide 363,000 meals to people in need.

After the murder of George Floyd, #34 participated in several peaceful protests and continues to use his platform to advocate for social justice.

And just this week, Giannis got incredibly honest about his recent struggles with mental health that almost forced him to walk away from the NBA the year before he led the Bucks to their first championship in 50 years.

“In order for you to be the best, you have to play like the best. You have to practice like the best. You got to carry yourself like the best. Which is not easy,” he said.“ As much as people say I’m handling it well, because that’s my personality… it’s hard.”

The star’s almost-retirement came one week before the season began, after Antetokounmpo had just signed a five-year, $228 million extension. At the time, it was the largest contract in NBA history.

3 Reasons Giannis is Milwaukee's Champion On and Off the Court

Author

  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

CATEGORIES: SPORTS
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