Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was set to head toward unrestricted free agency in the 2020-21 NBA season. How fans–especially of the Milwaukee–and their emotions would have been put on a rollercoaster ride if Antetokounmpo were to explore his options.
However, the two-time MVP spared everyone the drama after signing a five-year supermax extension last December, proving his loyalty to the Bucks and their goal of winning an NBA championship.
Now, per ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth, it is what Antetokounmpo considered in his decision to continue to call Milwaukee his home for a while longer:
“I didn't want the pressure. Not me, personally; I can deal with pressure,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said (h/t Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report). “I didn't want the pressure on my teammates and my coaching staff. Going out there and losing a game, and people are talking about ‘Oh, he's leaving. Oh, he's staying. Oh, they didn't play well. Oh, he's out of there.' That's adding more pressure to what we're trying to accomplish here.”
Instead of distracting the Bucks from eyeing the NBA championship, Giannis dedicated his focus to help the franchise win. If he were to leave the team, he would have joined players such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant who left their team in pursuit of a championship. However, Antetokounmpo believed that he was already in the best place to win his first ring.
“The goal is to win a championship. So going through a year of pressure is almost throwing out the year while I'm entering my prime. I'm not throwing out a year,” the Bucks superstar added.