The gap between small-market and big-market teams in the NBA is often talked about amongst fans. Whether it’s attracting free agents or media attention, the unfortunate reality is that big-market teams like the Lakers or Knicks will get more fanfare than small-market teams like the Bucks.
This is why many outsider fans were seemingly surprised when Giannis Antetokounmpo committed to Milwaukee in the long run after many rumors. After months of speculation over whether The Greek Freak would ditch his team, he announced he’d be staying by signing a massive extension.
In an interview with Malika Andrews for ESPN, Giannis pointed out the differences between playing on a big-market team versus a small-market team like the Bucks:
“Nobody cares about us. You know we play in Milwaukee. Small-market team, not a lot of attention. We just go out there and do our job and we’re all about winning, we’re about taking care of our families. We’re about enjoying the game and whatever it takes.”
Small-market teams often get the short end of the stick when it comes to media attention. They’re often, well … the subject of speculation regarding their stars. It happened with Damian Lillard in Portland, it’s happening with Donovan Mitchell in Utah and Zion Williamson in New Orleans, and Milwaukee experienced it firsthand with Antetokounmpo.
However, the lack of spotlight on them often means that a team can focus on their goals. The Bucks have quietly been chugging along this season, as they are firmly in the hunt for a top seed in the Eastern Conference. The lack of coverage means that Giannis and co. can turn their attention to the prize: defending their championship title.