Antetokounmpo eager to win title a ‘second time, third time’

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives on Detroit Pistons'Braxton Key in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, April 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Milwaukee Bucks ahead Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives on Detroit Pistons’Braxton Vital in the very first 50 percent of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, April 8, 2022. (AP Photograph/Paul Sancya)


Milwaukee Bucks ahead Giannis Antetokounmpo acknowledges there is strain in the NBA playoffs and immediately after the winning the initial title, “your head needs to get a second time or a 3rd time.”

A leading MVP applicant once again this season, Antetokounmpo likes to compare enjoying basketball to developing a operate of art and he’ll attempt to deliver one more postseason masterpiece this weekend.

His final time on the playoff phase, Antetokounmpo scored 50 points in a Video game 6 victory about the Phoenix Suns that gave the Bucks their to start with championship in a 50 %-century.

Antetokounmpo and the third-seeded Bucks experience the sixth-seeded Chicago Bulls in an Japanese Conference 1st-round series starting Sunday in Milwaukee.

“At the finish of the working day, the attitude does not adjust,” Antetokounmpo reported this week. “Enjoy the sport as a great deal as attainable due to the fact we labored tricky for this instant. We can’t take this minute for granted.”

On the area, it seems that profitable a title very last year took a pounds off the 27-calendar year-old’s shoulders.

Getting been there, finished that, Antetokounmpo appears far more relaxed.

The father of two has started many postgame news conferences by earning “dad jokes,” a practice he continued this 7 days though having all set for the playoffs.

“What do you phone a cow on a rollercoaster?” Antetokounmpo requested reporters who collected all over him. “A milkshake.”

But the postseason is no laughing make any difference for Antetokounmpo. The Bucks leader insists he feels just as significantly stress now as he did before he’d gained a title.

“Obviously a lot of persons believe as soon as you earn a championship and you be successful in existence, there’s no tension,” Antetokounmpo stated. “I never seriously concur. Clearly I do not test to target on the pressure as a lot. I try to target and appreciate the recreation. But at the conclusion of the working day, your head usually is going to come across some thing to change that.

“Almost like, ‘OK, you gained just one time.’ Now your brain would like to get a 2nd time or a third time.”

That angle demonstrates Antetokounmpo’s inventive strategy to the game

He thinks a participant enters each and every contest with a new chance to make, as if he’s an artist staring at a blank canvas.

“If you engage in effectively and you maintain on to the past, it helps prevent you from participating in effectively yet again,” Antetokounmpo claimed. “If you had 40 the preceding recreation, you are like, ‘OK, I experienced 40 the preceding activity. These days I can just be sloppy with the ball.’ That was that art that was designed.

“Today I reset. I get a new canvas and test to generate new artwork.”

The tactic served Antetokounmpo follow up the Bucks’ championship with just one of his best NBA seasons.

He enters the playoffs as the Jap Convention player of the month for March and April. Antetokounmpo averaged a profession-superior 29.9 points – at the rear of only Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid – together with 11.6 rebounds and 5.8 helps.

He grew to become the to start with participant in NBA heritage to regular at minimum 25 details, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in four individual seasons. Oscar Robertson did it 3 situations.

“He does not settle,” Bucks guard George Hill mentioned. “One point I do know about him: Him successful a championship does not outline who he is. He’s even now in there every working day, each early morning, each night time doing work his butt off to get improved. He nonetheless feels like he has a great deal to establish.”

Teammate Jrue Holiday getaway argued late in the year that Antetokounmpo merits thought for the NBA’s most enhanced participant award for the reason that of the way the 6-foot-11 ahead diversified his activity.

Antetokounmpo mentioned he preferred the idea of “changing the narrative” about his activity by displaying he could shoot successfully and wasn’t basically a guy who capitalized on his size and athleticism by scoring on dunks and drives to the basket.

Though he manufactured less than 30% of his 3-point attempts this season, Antetokounmpo passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the Bucks’ scoring history by sinking a sport-tying 3-pointer in the final minute of regulation in an time beyond regulation victory at Brooklyn. He created 72.2% of his no cost-toss attempts, his highest share because the 2019-20 year.

“He’s dominated and perfected one particular section of his video game, and now he’s going to increase and lengthen that vary to the 3-level line,” said Dallas Mavericks mentor Jason Kidd, who coached Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee from 2014-18. “That’s what he states he’s heading to do, and that suggests he’s heading to do it.”

And that means acknowledging what he completed last yr will not necessarily engage in any part in irrespective of whether the Bucks are in a position to repeat.

“Last year’s last year,” Antetokounmpo reported. “Last calendar year we had been able to go by way of ups and downs in the playoffs and close up with the championship. But that doesn’t suggest nothing.”

For now, it truly is just a different blank canvas.


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