Nigerian-born Giannis Antetokounmpo signs $228.2M contract extension with Milwaukee Bucks
An athlete of Nigerian descent has the biggest contract in the NBA. Incredible!
Antetokounmpo has been with the Bucks since 2013 when he was selected 15th overall by the franchise.
Since then, the 26-year-old has grown into the incredible player that he is with two consecutive MVP seasons.
Antetokounmpo's contract with the Bucks was to run out after this upcoming season, and his potential free-agency prompted speculations on where he was going to go with the Golden State Warriors mentioned as favourites to get him.
This contract extension, however, brings to an end to all the speculations.
"This is my home, this is my city. I'm blessed to be able to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next five years," the NBA's reigning MVP said on social media.
"Let's make these years count - the show goes on, let's get it."
Antetokounmpo's signing to remain with the Bucks makes him the first NBA superstar that chose to stay in a small market in a long time.
The Greek/Nigerian will now hope to win a championship with the Bucks who finished top of the Eastern Conference last season.
They had the best record in the NBA last season but were upset by the Miami Heat in the conference semi-finals during the play-offs.
In the season before, they got to the conference finals where the eventual champions, Toronto Raptors beat them.
This latest development continues the incredible rise of Antetokounmpo who was born to poverty in Greece to Nigerian parents.
From there, the power forward has grown to NBA superstardom and now has the richest deal in the league.
The big deal came after he was named the MVP for the second successive season in September and also won the Defensive Player of the Year - becoming only the third player, after Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, to earn both in the same season.
His $228.2m deal beat the mark of $228m set by Houston Rockets guard James Harden in 2017.
Antetokounmpo's average annual salary of $45.6m also surpasses the mark of Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook, who signed a five-year deal worth $206.8m with former team the Oklahoma City Thunder, the equivalent of $41.4m per year.
The delayed 2020-21 NBA campaign, which has been reduced to 72 regular-season games because of the coronavirus pandemic, is set to begin on 22 December.
Antetokounmpo will now be hoping that the Bucks who paid a heavy price to land Jrue Holiday to join the nucleus which also include All-Star Forward Khris Middleton and Center Brook Lopex, can perform better in the post-season.
Born and raised in Athens to Nigerian parents Charles and Veronica Adetokunbo, the basketball star is top of the growing list of athletes of Nigerian descent enjoying success in their sport.
"They call me 'The Greek Freak' and a lot of people support me and all that [in Greece]. A lot of people don't know that I love my Nigerian side," the Milwaukee Bucks star told The Undefeated.
"The minute I go back home and walk in — my mom is Nigerian, I don't have Greek in my house, so a lot of Nigerian people reaching out to me — was amazing. It made me feel welcome, so that was nice."
Fans from both countries have often tried to make Giannis choose between two countries, but the NBA star says he hates that.
"It's not a competition. I kind of hate that. I really do hate that," Antetokounmpo said.
"I've spoken about it. I kind of hate that a lot of people say, 'He's not Greek, he's Nigerian.' 'No, he's not Nigerian, he's Greek.' I'm both. I'm both. The same way a lot of people are both, I'm both."
Giannis also reveals that he is planning a homecoming trip to Nigeria to meet family members and will shoot a documentary about it.
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