Giannis Antetokounmpo has developed into one of the NBA’s best players through his first eight seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. Antetokounmpo has played his entire career wearing the No. 34, which holds special meaning dedicated to his parents.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s impressive start to his NBA career
In his first eight seasons, Antetokounmpo has developed into one of the game’s best players.
He entered the league at 19 years old as a raw talent with plenty of potential behind his size and length. Antetokounmpo progressively improved with each campaign as he strengthened his body and improved his game.
He began to hit his stride in his fourth year, earning his first All-Star Game selection and the Most Improved Player award. In the four seasons since then, Antetokounmpo has captured two regular-season MVP awards and an NBA title, earned a Finals MVP award, and secured a Defensive Player of the Year award. He also garnered four All-Star Game selections and received three All-NBA First Team nods and three NBA All-Defensive Second Team selections.
Antetokounmpo has hit his stride as an elite talent, especially after leading the Bucks to their first NBA championship in five decades. He dominated the 2021 Finals against the Phoenix Suns, averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists, earning him the Finals MVP award. The 26-year-old capped off it with 50 points in the close-out Game 6 win.
He joined Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan by winning multiple MVPs and a Finals MVP by age 26 or younger. Antetokounmpo is also alongside Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win a regular-season MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award in the same year.
His career trajectory has him well on his way to earning a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction as he holds plenty of highly productive campaigns ahead.
Giannis Antetokounmpo reveals the touching reason why he wears No. 34
Through his first eight seasons, Antetokounmpo has played with the No. 34 on his jersey.
The reasoning behind his number selection shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as Antetokounmpo wanted to honor his parents in a heartfelt manner.
“My mom was born in 1963, and my dad was born in 1964,” Antetokounmpo said. “So I took the 3 and 4 then came up with 34. My brother [Thanasis] did the opposite. That’s why he got 43.”
He and his brother Thanasis used the opportunity to show appreciation and gratitude toward their parents. The journey to the NBA featured a tough path that required plenty of sacrifice. Giannis has always made it crystal clear that he wouldn’t be where he is without his parents.
Antetokounmpo has also routinely credited them for playing a significant role in shaping the person he’s become. As he moves forward in his NBA career, he will honor his family each time he dons his jersey.
Milwaukee Bucks hold a bright future ahead
Antetokounmpo‘s rise to stardom has placed him on a promising trajectory to etch a special place in NBA history.
It’s also put a bright future ahead in Milwaukee while he serves as the franchise centerpiece. Before the 2020-21 season, he silenced all the doubts concerning his standing with the Bucks. He inked a league-record five-year, $228 million extension that runs through the 2025-26 campaign.
The 26-year-old is only starting to hit his physical prime, during which he will experience continued growth in his game. All that has the Bucks positioned to vie for a few more NBA titles in the coming years.