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Giannis' Decision: When a Star Embraces a City

Marshall is a Wisconsin realtor and mentor who coaches inner city youth who may not have the access to play otherwise.

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The love story of Giannis Antetokoumpo and Milwaukee

As the moon awakens, seeing the sun off to sleep, an entire city laid restless awaiting one man’s decision. As he pondered this choice, he held all our hearts hostage, either unbearable anguish or overwhelming relief was inevitable. It felt like we were on a crash course with despair. Then something beautiful happened. Giannis Antetokoumpo signed a max extension to stay in Milwaukee for another five years. All hearts rejoiced. Floridians cried. Children hugged their mothers. Fathers held their sons. The skies had never been clearer, the air never crisper. For a moment, all was right in the world. I’m joking of course. In all seriousness though, that is how it felt once the news broke. It felt like more than just a commitment to stay with the team. It was him committing to stay here with us. It was him admitting that after all these years, he feels he is one of us. A Milwaukeean. A Wisconsinite. Giannis signing that contract said everything we thought we knew about him was true. It meant that he was taking those long, lanky arms of his and wrapping them around the whole city. Him signing his name on the dotted line was the dawn of a new era.

Giannis has seen it all; new coaches, a new GM, new owners, new jerseys, a new arena, and a plethora of new teammates. Through it all he’s remained the same humble kid from Athens. He never lost patience, never lost focus. He believed in the organization as much as this city believed in him. We reward him by giving our unwavering support. The team rewarded him with a competent squad that could actually compete. He rewarded us all with an NBA Championship. And he did it the hardest way possible, staying with the team that drafted him rather than joining a superteam. It’s unheard of in today’s NBA. He came back from a devastating injury and played through the pain. He came up big in clutch moments. He hit every shot the doubters said he couldn’t. He won that title in epic fashion. If he retires today, there is going to be debates about whether he is already the greatest player in Milwaukee Bucks history. If he keeps this up for the next five years, he’s guaranteed to have a statue outside the Fiserv Forum one day.

Giannis’ connection with this city goes beyond basketball as well. He’s done so much behind the scenes and shown up at so many events, big and small. The youth, the homeless, the hungry, the elderly, he helps them all. He marched with us and protested during times of unrest. He can’t stand to see injustice, especially in his own backyard. It’s clear that he feels a stake of ownership here. He even took that ownership quite literally and bought into the local MLB club, the Milwaukee Brewers. His legacy here is solidified. This city will support him no matter what he decides to do next. When he wins, we win. When we win, he wins. That’s why this relationship works. When he got his first signature shoe, it felt like Milwaukee had it’s own signature shoe. His MVP awards feel like they are just as much ours as they are his. That is what happens when a superstar embraces the city that first embraced him. This relationship is symbiotic. It’s the result of failures, triumphs, and years of longing. This is currently the NBA’s most iconic city to star relationship and I think it should be celebrated.

Marshall Trudo IV


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