Milwaukee Bucks Win 2021 NBA Finals for First Time in 50 Years
The Milwaukee Bucks have won the 2021 NBA Championships!
In a nail-biter triumph that came down to the final seconds, the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 105-98 on Tuesday night's Game 6, clinching their second NBA championship victory in franchise history, and their first win in 50 years.
Crowds inside Milwaukee's Fiserv Forum erupted into cheers when the game was called, celebrating the victory a half of century in the making. More than 65,000 fans were waiting outside too, basking in the excitement of the success.
The Bucks last won the title in 1971, in just their third season of existence.
It was a tense battle throughout. The Bucks began with a significant point lead after the first quarter, but the Suns caught up in the second and the two were neck and neck throughout.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver presented the Larry O'Brien trophy to the Bucks. "It's been 50 years, which makes it all that much sweeter," Silver said.
Perhaps no one was celebrating as much as Giannis Antetokounmpo. Already a two-time league MVP, he picked up his first championship win and was named the Finals MVP.
His son, Liam Charles, joined him on the court after the win, sitting in his dad's arms as the athlete wiped tears from his eyes.
"It means a lot," he said in his speech. "I want to thank Milwaukee for believing in me. I want to thank my teammates, they played hard. I trusted this team. I wanted to do it with these guys. I'm happy we were able to get it done. ... We're going to do it again."
"Khris, we did it man," he told longtime teammate Kris Middleton. "This guy doesn't really know how much he pushed me. He pushed me every day to be great. ... We've been together for 8 years. I'm happy I was able to do it with this guy."
The superstar's path to the finals included one major injury, which initially had fans worrying whether he would be out for the majority of the postseason.
Antetokounmpo, 26, exited Game Four of the Eastern Conference finals with a hyperextended knee. Although he went on to miss the rest of the series, he was back on the court during the first game of the finals.
"Obviously I'm trying not to make it about me, but felt great," he told reporters after the game, which the team lost to the Suns. "The medical staff cleared me to play. Out there, I had my balance. I felt my knee was stable. I did not feel pain. I felt good."
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Although Tuesday's game marked the end of the 2020-2021 NBA season, the journey hasn't ended for a few Suns and Bucks players.