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Milwaukee Bucks do-it-all swingman Giannis Antetokounmpo recently sat down with The New York Times for an exclusive interview in which he reveals he’s a low-profile guy who connects with the city and people of Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo, who can become a free agent in 2021 when his four-year, $100 million extension expires, has given off a strong vibe that he’ll remain loyal to the Bucks and not pull a ‘Kevin Durant.’
I got loyalty inside my DNA 🦌
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) July 7, 2017
Unlike many of the other superstars in the league, Antetokounmpo isn’t a fan of the big market cities and enjoys being out of the limelight so he can focus on his craft.
“I’m a low-profile guy,” Antetokounmpo told The New York Times. “I don’t like all these flashy cities like L.A. or Miami. I don’t know if I could be the same player if I played in those cities.”
Through the first eight games of this season, Antetokounmpo is averaging a staggering stat line of 31.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists — numbers no player in NBA history has ever hit in the season’s first two weeks.
Antetokounmpo says the support he’s received from Milwaukee after the sudden death of his father has meant the world to him and his family. It drives the 22-year-old All-Star to produce even more on the court knowing that he has a city and fan base who loves him.
“I can feel the love from the city every day I step on the floor,” Antetokounmpo said. “For me, what I’m going through now, I appreciate it even more.”
The Bucks are off to a sluggish 4-4 start and have struggled to manufacture points when Antetokounmpo goes to the bench or is double-teamed in the 4th quarter.
In their Tuesday loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Milwaukee didn’t have any player other than Antetokounmpo (28) score in double-figures.
Antetokounmpo never points the finger at his teammates, though, and always takes the blame whenever the Bucks lose. He wants all the pressure on his shoulders and views losses very seriously.
“Bucks staffers do worry that Antetokounmpo is occasionally too hard on himself, having watched him head straight for the practice floor on the same night as a frustrating loss more times than they care to remember. One example of his blame-me tendencies: He said last week, on the morning after a home setback to the Boston Celtics, that he was still angry “for personal reasons,” implying that the 96-89 defeat was all his fault.”
Former Bucks great Michael Redd doesn’t envision Antetokounmpo leaving town and claims other elite players will absolutely come to Milwaukee for a chance to pair up with The Greek Freak.
“I really don’t see Giannis going anywhere,” Redd said. “Even in the future. With what he’s doing on the court, it’s going to automatically draw people to come play with him. I know people have that stigma about Milwaukee. But it won’t be hard for him to attract talent here. I just want a ring when they get a ring.”
The Bucks are in desperate need of another playmaker who can score without the use of screens and collapse defenses.
Many view disgruntled Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe as a good fit next to Antetokounmpo.