By Mukwuzi Joseph
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points as the Milwaukee Bucks claimed their first NBA title for 50 years with a 105-98 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
The Bucks’ 4-2 series win was sealed in front of a 20,000 crowd as 65,000 celebrated outside the Fiserv Forum.
They are only the fifth team to win the best-of-seven finals series after losing their first two matches.
“I’m happy I was able to do it with this team for Milwaukee,” said Antetokounmpo.
The Suns were seeking a first NBA crown in their 53-year history, having also lost NBA Finals series in 1976 and 1993.
However, they were unable to contain Antetokounmpo, who became only the seventh player to register 50 points in a Finals game.
It was also the third game in the series in which the 26-year-old has managed at least 40 points and 10 rebounds.
Antetokounmpo matches the feat of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon by collecting a regular season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and NBA defensive player of the year awards.
“I want to thank Milwaukee for believing in me. I want to thank my team-mates for playing hard with me,” Antetokounmpo said.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer described the Greek forward as “a special human being”.
“I’ve learned so much from him. He’s a special leader,” he said.
“These players are champions every day. They’ve embraced getting better every day.”
Budenholzer was only four years old when NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson led the Bucks to their only previous NBA tile in 1971, when some of the current players’ parents had not been born.