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Giannis Antetokounmpo gives speech as Bucks become first NBA team to visit White House since 2016

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It’s been a big week off the court for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

First came a Harry Styles concert. Then came a visit to the White House along with his Milwaukee Bucks teammates on Monday to honor their 2021 NBA championship.

Antetokounmpo delivered remarks on behalf of the team, and the “Greek Freak” referenced his upbringing in Greece.

“This is awesome,” the two-time MVP said from a podium stamped with the presidential seal, with President Joe Biden looking on.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity to be here, to be in the White House, meeting the President of the United States. Could not be as honored or as happy that I’ve become something like this in my life,” Antetokounmpo said.

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks speaks at the podium as U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes the Milwaukee Bucks to the South Lawn of the White House to honor the team for its NBA Championship.
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks speaks at the podium as U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes the Milwaukee Bucks to the South Lawn of the White House to honor the team for its NBA Championship.

Antetokounmpo thanked the families of Bucks personnel and fans for their support before offering a final message:

“For everybody out there, this is a great example that with hard work, with sacrifices, if you dedicate yourself, waking up every single day and try to get better in anything you do, in anything you love, and believe in your dreams, you can accomplish great things in life. … I’ve done that my whole life. And I’m in the White House. You can never take moments like that for granted. Without hard work, it would not be possible.”

During the ceremony, Biden congratulated Antetokounmpo and the Bucks – wearing their championship rings – while singling out Donte DiVincenzo for his shared Delaware roots. He also brought up the team’s leadership from the NBA bubble following the Jacob Blake police shooting in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. DiVincenzo and Jrue Holiday presented the President with a customary “No. 46” jersey.

The Bucks are the first team to visit the White House in five years -- no NBA team traveled to Washington D.C. during former President Donald Trump four years in office. The last squad to make the trip were the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 10, 2016, two days after Trump won the election. Trump famously “rescinded” an invitation for the Golden State Warriors, only after the team expressed it would not attend.

The Bucks lost to the Wizards 101-94 in D.C. on Sunday.

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Giannis Antetokounmpo gives powerful message as Bucks visit White House