the milwaukee bucks are nba champions for the first time in fifty years after beating the phoenix suns 105-98 in game 6 of the nba finals. giannis antetokounmpo was very special tonight, he gave his team 50 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to lead his team to victory. The Greek monster also made 17 of his 19 free throws to shoot just under 90 percent from the line, but his most significant contribution to this streak might have been reading a text message from a young NBA official before this one. season.
It’s been an up and down journey for Bobby Portis. From his altercation with former teammate Nikola Mirotić to disappointing seasons with the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks, missing the bubble seemed like a sign that this was the beginning of the end of Bobby’s short but controversial NBA career.
However, being the fighter that he was, Bobby decided to take a chance and texted Giannis suggesting he could help the team get over the hump instead of letting his past haunt him. Today, Portis is an NBA champion and is instrumental in getting the Bucks to the Finals and ultimately securing that ring. So instrumental that fans on the Fizer Forum demanded that Bobby be given the microphone at the awards ceremony to be interviewed by Malika Andrews. Portis then briefly shared the struggles he went through to get to where he is today.
“means the world. for 10 months straight, i was just working out, very depressed, very depressed about not being invited to the (nba bubble) with my team, i found peace again. i found peace again in my life.”
Bobby Portis, ABC NBA Finals Awards Ceremony
when the nba bubble formed, bobby portis was with the new york knicks, a team buried in the bottom of the standings and that had no reason to be invited to orlando. Still, Bobby has made it known through a few interviews in recent weeks that he struggled not to play NBA basketball for so long. Portis is a true basketball player and loves to compete, so watching other teams do that while sitting at home technically unemployed was painful for him. He continued to work hard and finally got his chance when the Bucks signed him last offseason in an effort to surround Giannis with the pieces necessary to compete for a title.
Frankly, Portis was never seen in the league as a championship player due to his troubled past. it’s hard to take a chance on a guy with a history of beating up teammates and sending them to the hospital. As it turns out, Milwaukee realized that and found the toughness necessary to compete in the playoffs at Portis. in recent years, teams that weren’t as talented but tougher than them were attacking them. This year, they turned the league on their head by adding guys like PJ Tucker, Jrue Holiday, and Bobby Portis.
bobby stepped up in giannis’s absence in games against the hawks by providing points and rebounds to help fill the void left by the greek monster. when giannis came back, he went back to the bench but stayed ready. Starting Game 3, Bobby played critical minutes down the stretch, giving Milwaukee a more agile alternative to Brook Lopez without necessarily degrading much in terms of size. Portis was a star in his role and allowed the Bucks to implement defensive schemes that would allow them to make life difficult for the Phoenix guards without giving Deandre Ayton easy buckets. If there was an award for the sixth man in the playoffs, it would go to Bobby Portis.
It all came together in game 6. Portis scored 16 points off the bench on 60 percent shooting. he was a plus 6 when he was on the court tonight, the only player with a positive coming off the bench for money. Bobby’s performance was remarkable as he hit big shots down the stretch and one that closes a chapter of an untold story in the NBA.
We talk about the stars of this league and their legacies, their place in history, but as you go down the line from each roster, you find guys for whom championships mean so much in the limited minutes they play. Stars fight for their legacies, but role-players like Portis are fighting for their lives, and it was amazing to see him come out on top.
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