By Adedapo Adesanya
Milwaukee Bucks secured their first NBA championship in 50 years on Wednesday morning against the Phoenix Suns following a 105 – 98 win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points as the Bucks claimed their first NBA title since 1971, landing a 4-2 series win in front of a 20,000 crowd.
They become only the fifth team to win the best-of-seven finals series after losing their first two matches.
The Suns were seeking their first NBA crown in their 53-year history, having also lost the NBA Finals series in 1976 and 1993.
Antetokounmpo, born in Greece with Nigerian ancestry, was the first player to have at least 40 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a finals’ game since blocks were first recorded in 1974 and became the seventh player to have at least 50 points in the championship round.
“I’m happy I was able to do it with this team for Milwaukee,” said Antetokounmpo.
It was also the third game in the series in which the 26-year-old has managed at least 40 points and 10 rebounds.
Antetokounmpo matches the feat of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon by collecting a regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and NBA defensive player of the year awards.
“I want to thank Milwaukee for believing in me. I want to thank my teammates for playing hard with me,” Antetokounmpo said.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer described the Greek forward as “a special human being”.
“I’ve learned so much from him. He’s a special leader,” he said.
He praised the Suns, saying they had great players, a great coach and a great organization and then hailed his team.
“These players, they’re champions every day, Every day they come to the building they are champions.
“They’ve embraced getting better every day, they’ve embraced competing, they’ve embraced playing together. And it’s made them champions tonight. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
In 1971, the Bucks won the title in their third season behind the standout play of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor) and Oscar Robertson. They beat the Baltimore Bullets in the final four games to none, winning the final game on the road.
This was the Bucks’ first appearance in the Finals since 1974 and it was the Suns’ third appearance in the Finals, the most recent coming in 1993.