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Monday was a time for the Milwaukee Bucks to reflect. It was a distraction from their rough early going in the 2021-22 NBA season. Through 10 games, the reigning champions are 4-6 and have been bitten by the injury and COVID-19 bugs. Despite the rough go, Giannis Antetokounmpo took the time to take in the moment and gush, saying, “I’m in the White House.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks found a reason to smile during a rough start to the season

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks delivers remarks during an event where U.S. President Joe Biden honored the Bucks for winning the 2021 NBA Championship, on the South Lawn at the White House on November 8, 2021, in Washington, DC. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Bucks have not looked like the team that won the NBA Finals a year ago. That’s because they’ve been playing without several key players, including Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and Brook Lopez.

After a 3-1 start, the Bucks are riding a two-game losing streak and have dropped five of their last six games. it’s been a rough stretch for the Bucks, but the team was able to get away from it all Monday and celebrate instead.

The Bucks made the trip to the White House to recognize their championship. Antetokounmpo was able to put aside the team’s on-court struggles for the day and soak in the moment.

“This is awesome,” the two-time MVP said, according to USA TODAY.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity to be here, to be in the White House, meeting the President of the United States. Could not be as honored or as happy that I’ve become with something like this in my life.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo gushes during a time when then Milwaukee Bucks are struggling

Antetokounmpo isn’t one to dwell on the past. He said so himself. The Greek Freak doesn’t want to live off his consecutive MVP seasons or the championship the Bucks won last year. For him, it’s always look ahead.

“Calling me MVP, calling me champ, calling me the best player in the world, is something that might hold me back,” he said, according to Euro Hoops in September. “And I don’t want anything holding me back. I want to look forward and be better.”

Monday, however, was a day to reflect and be recognized for those accolades. Antetokounmpo said it all happened because of the hard work he and his teammates put in during the season and in the offseason.

“For everybody out there, this is a great example that with hard work, with sacrifices, if you dedicate yourself, waking up every single day and try to get better in anything you do, in anything you love, and believe in your dreams, you can accomplish great things in life,” Antetokounmpo said, per USA TODAY.

“I’ve done that my whole life. And I’m in the White House. You can never take moments like that for granted. Without hard work, it would not be possible.”

The Bucks are the first NBA team to attend the White House since 2016

 Not since the 2015-2016 champion Cleveland Cavaliers has an NBA team visited the White House after winning a title. That came when President Barack Obama was still in office and it was two days after Donald Trump was elected president.

The Golden State Warriors were NBA champs in 2017 and 2018, but elected not to attend the White House as coach Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry, among others, were critical of Trump, according to The Washington Post.

The Toronto Raptors followed suit in 2019, electing not to make the trip. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic made things difficult to get the Los Angeles Lakers there.

The Bucks, however, were happy to make the trip.

“We’re very excited,” Budenholzer said prior to the team’s visit. “Very appreciative of the invite, know that it’s an honor and it’s special. We’re looking forward to visiting the White House.”


Giannis Antetokounmpo Focused On a Repeat but Is Also Ahead of Pace to Make Milwaukee Bucks History This Year