Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted he never thought he would be in the position in which he is now. On Tuesday, Antetokounmpo dropped 50 points in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to lead the Bucks to a 105-98 win and to help them seal their first NBA title since 1971.
"No, man," Antetokounmpo said with a smile, when asked if he ever could've imagined a moment like this when he began playing basketball in Athens all those years ago. "I started playing basketball just to help my family.
Tried to get them out of the struggle, the challenges we were facing when we were kids. "But I never thought I'm going to be 26 years old, with my team playing in the NBA Finals. Just playing -- like, I was just happy just being, like not even winning, just being a part of this, of this journey.
"But I never thought I would be sitting here with this right here and this right here," he added, pointing to the two trophies next to him. "We've come a long way."
Antetokounmpo 'humble and blessed'
"Obviously, I represent my country, both countries, Nigeria and Greece," Antetokounmpo said.
"A lot of kids from there. But not just from Nigeria -- all Africa and all Europe. "I know I'm a role model. But this should make every person, every kid, anybody around the world believe in their dreams. No matter whatever you feel when you're down, when you don't think it's going to happen for you or you might not make it in your career -- might be basketball, might be anything -- just believe in what you're doing and keep working.
"Don't let nobody tell you what you can be and what you cannot do. ... Just believe, man. I hope I give people around the world, from Africa, from Europe, hope that it can be done. It can be done. "Eight years ago, eight and a half years ago, when I came to the league, I didn't know where my next meal will come from.
My mom was selling stuff in the street. Now I'm here sitting at the top of the top. I'm extremely blessed. I'm extremely blessed. If I never have a chance to sit on this table ever again, I'm fine with it. I'm fine with it. I hope this can give everybody around the world hope. I want them to believe in their dreams."