Happy Wednesday! Giannis Antentokounmpo was ridiculed the entire NBA playoffs for his free throws. He struggled with line violations. The media questioned him. Other teams’ fans created chants targeting him.
Then, in an NBA Finals game, no doubt the most important basketball game of his career, he goes 17-19 from the line to propel his team to the title.
In today's Sprint:
🏈Rodgers says no.
🏀 The Bucks win it all.
⚽️ A golden opportunity wasted.
Trivia:How many active NBA franchises have made it to an NBA Finals but not won a title?
WATER COOLER TALK
🏈 Nick Saban hinted that Alabama’s new quarterback, Bryce Young, has made almost $1M on endorsements since the new Name, Image, Likeness rules went into effect. Not sure if Bama’s recruiting can improve but, if so, it likely just did.
🏈 Aaron Rodgers turned down Green Bay’s offer to make him the highest-paid quarterback (and player) in NFL history, per Adam Schefter. Seems like a messy split is in his future.
🏈 Top LA Rams running back Cam Akers tore his Achilles. The injury ends his 2021 season before it starts, much to the sadness of fantasy football fans everywhere.
🥇 Only two days away from the Opening Ceremony, the Olympic Committee isn’t ruling out a last-minute cancellation if Covid cases spike in Japan.
⚾️ Shohei Ohtani inked an exclusive deal with Fanatics to distribute his memorabilia. In the month of July, he’s the top-selling athlete on the platform across all sports.
Don’t Pass the Buck
After a 50-year wait, Milwaukee and the 65,000 fan Deer District are still partying after the Bucks won the NBA Championship last night.
Game 6: Milwaukee Bucks 105 vs. Phoenix Suns 98
Giannis Antetokounmpo put up a legendary Finals performance, scoring 50 points, snagging 14 rebounds, dishing 6 assists, and blocking 5 shots.
Giannis won his 1st Finals MVP after averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. It’ll look quite nice next to his two MVP trophies.
The Bucks won the NBA Finals, defeating the Suns 4-2.
Series rewind: After going up 2-0, ‘Suns in 4’ looked like a real possibility. Then the Bucks took away the corner three and had Jrue Holiday lock up Chris Paul, and the series reversed.
Khris Middleton scored 20 in the 4th quarter of game 3 to lead Milwaukee to its first win.
The bigger picture: After drafting a relatively unknown kid from Greece (Giannis) and bringing up a 2nd round rookie G-Leaguer in 2013 (Khris Middleton), the Bucks methodically built a championship-caliber squad. Last summer, the team went all-in with a Giannis supermax and a blockbuster trade for Jrue Holiday.
After the run of superteam champs, watching a small-market team win it behind home-grown stars was amazing. Giannis said this after the game when asked about his decision to stay with Milwaukee:
“That’s my stubborn side. I could go to a superteam, do my part, and win a championship. But this is the hard way to do it. And we did it.”
Extra credit:Giannis’ IG Live with Thanasis Antentokounmpo, his brother and teammate who missed game 6 due to Covid protocols, is the best content on the internet today.
And, if you’re not familiar with Giannis’ story from the streets of Greece to the NBA, here’s his remarkable story.
AROUND THE LEAGUES
(48-47) St. Louis Cardinals 6vs. (46-49) Chicago Cubs 1
After weeks of trade speculation and finding themselves down 4-1, the Cubs pulled Kris Bryant due to “right hamstring fatigue.” Sounds like someone is (almost) on the move.
Soccer - Gold Cup
(9 pts) Costa Rica1vs. (6 pts) Jamaica 0
Despite losing time of possession (44%), going a man down, and only putting one shot on goal (compared to Jamaica’s 5), Costa Rica came up with the improbable win to punch their ticket to play Canada in the knockout round.
Quote:“This should make every kid believe in their dreams. Just believe in yourself and keep working.”
- Giannis when asked what his title means to kids in Nigeria and Greece, the two countries where his family comes from.
Highlight: Suns head coach Monty Williams went to the Bucks locker room and congratulated them on the championship. Monty is one of the best young coaches in the NBA.
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