Don’t tell Giannis Antetokounmpo, but there could be more Milwaukee Bucks history made this year than just repeating as NBA champs. He doesn’t want to hear it. His lone goal is to get back on the big stage and bring home a second straight championship.
Whether he accomplishes that or not, he will put himself in the record books if he merely continues to perform as he has the last few seasons.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks off to a quick start
Except for a clunker in their first road game of the season, the Bucks are off to a strong start. Despite the rough schedule to open the season, Milwaukee stands at 3-1 and appears to be a team prime for a repeat. The Bucks made a statement in their season-opening win against the high-powered Brooklyn Nets before hitting the road for three straight.
At Miami, the Bucks got off to an embarrassing start, trailing by 23 points after the first quarter. They bounced back nicely with road victories at San Antonio and Indiana.
Antetokounmpo continues to play like a two-time MVP. In the opener, he finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists in the convincing 124-104 win over the Nets.
He just missed a triple-double against the Pacers, finishing with 30 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. In that game, Milwaukee played without starters Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday, and veteran bench player Bobby Portis. Antetokounmpo took charge, capping their three-game road trip with another win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo headed for record-setting season
It’s likely the last thing on his mind, but Antetokounmpo is almost certain to add another chapter to the Bucks’ record book this year. With four games in the books, the Greek Freak has 12,417 career points. He is second on the team’s all-time scoring list behind the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Abdul-Jabbar, who is also the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, played the first six seasons of his 20-year NBA career with the Bucks. During that stretch, he tallied 14,211 points, averaging 30.4 points and leading the league in scoring two straight years.
If Antetokponmpo matches last year’s scoring average of 24.5 points — his lowest output in five years — he will become Milwaukee’s all-time leading scorer. He needs to average 23 points the remainder of the season to break Abdul-Jabbar’s Milwaukee mark.
That, however, is not what he’s hoping to accomplish. He’s a team guy and is hungry for a second championship.
“If you’re a competitor, your mind creates something different, a different challenge,” he said, according to ESPN. “You might say, ‘OK I did it one time, I need to do it a second time.’ And when you do it a second time, you want to do it a third time.”
The Bucks are focused on one goal — getting another championship
Nobody on the Bucks gained more satisfaction from winning the team’s first championship in 40 years than Antetokounmpo. He soaked in the moment, enjoying every minute of it. Now that the celebrations have come and gone, it’s time to look ahead. Antetokounmpo said he isn’t satisfied with one title. He hopes his teammates aren’t either.
“Are we satisfied? I’m not satisfied. I’m not even close to being satisfied,” Antetokounmpo said prior to the season, per ESPN. “That’s the tone we got to set as a team. As the leader of this team, that’s the tone I’m going to set. We understand that teams are coming for us, but we’re going to be ready.”
Antetokounmpo is doing his part, and he has the hardware to show for it. None of that matters to him. He doesn’t care about his two straight MVP honors. Breaking Abdul-Jabbar’s record will be quite an accomplishment, but it won’t matter much to Antetokounmpo.
“Right now what I want is to get better,” he said. “I don’t care about trophies. I don’t care about the MVPs. I don’t care about Defensive Player of the Years. All those things, I don’t care. I care about getting better because if I do that, more things are coming.
“That’s what I’ve done my whole career and that’s how I am in this position. So, there’s no weight off my shoulder, I feel the same weight. I enjoy, obviously, that we’re the champions, but the weight is the same. Get better.”
If he maintains that outlook throughout his career, he may pass Abdul-Jabbar on that NBA all-time scoring list.