Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo tries to shoot past Czech Republic's Ondrej Balvin during a phase two match for the FIBA Basketball World Cup at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center in Shenzhen on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Giannis Antetokounmpo now has a little more time to get ready for the NBA season. That would be an unwanted consolation prize. The reigning NBA MVP's stay at the World Cup is over, even after a victory in the team's finale. Greece needed to beat the Czechs by at least 12 points to have any chance of reaching the quarterfinals, and instead is heading home after an 84-77 win on Monday wasn't enough to push it to the next round.
The young man who not so long ago sold watches and sunglasses on the sidewalks of Greece to help support his Nigerian immigrant family just signed a 100 million deal. Hardly more than three years back, Giannis Antetokounmpo was a hoop dreamer half a world away from the glittering arenas of the NBA and unknown to most of its fans. Now he's a budding star, one of the league's most beloved players and newly minted with a four-year, 100 million contract extension at just 21 years old. Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks agreed to his massive contract extension onMonday following the 6-foot-11 forward's third season with the team. The 15th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's intrinsic feel for basketball play struck onlookers soon after he unwound an 18-year-old body of tree limbs in his NBA debut for Milwaukee in 2013. At 6-feet-11, Antetokounmpo appears to show the stride and speed of a cheetah. The ball disappears into his foot-long hand width like a stranger's handshake. His outstretched arms would cover Kristaps Porzingis head to toe, making the Bucks' "Greek Freak" even more of an outlier because he often plays point guard. Each dimension to Antetokounmpo's game is special, but his mental makeup proved as valuable as his physical form for chasing dreams.
Greece's Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks, prepares for a free throw, during a game against Italy, at the Acropolis basketball tournament at the indoor Olympic stadium of Athens, Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. The reigning NBA MVP is headed to the basketball World Cup. So are three other members of this past season's All-NBA squad, and so is the starting center from the team that won the NBA championship a couple months ago. Most of those guys won't be playing for the United States. The majority of America's best players are sitting out the World Cup, while many of the best international players are not.