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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Huge murals in downtown Milwaukee Antetokounmpo. celebrates

MILWAUKEE ( Associated Press) — Giannis Antetokounmpo is featured in a mural that will give the two-time NBA MVP a larger-than-life presence throughout the year in downtown Milwaukee.

Covering the side of the three-story building, the mural is 53½ feet high and 56½ feet wide. It shows Antetokounmpo’s back in a Milwaukee Bucks jersey with his hands on his hips.

Mauricio Ramirez, Several hours before Antetokounmpo led the Bucks in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal with the Boston Celtics, building the mural, signed his assignment Friday.

Ramirez, who specializes in murals and has several pieces on display around Milwaukee, said he had thought for years about building something to honor Antetokounmpo. The 6-foot-11 forward led the Bucks to their first NBA championship in a half-century Last year, the Phoenix Suns scored 50 points in a title-winning Game 6 victory.

“I thought it would be great to have a proper Giannis mural, not one in the street, not on the side of a convenience store,” Ramirez said. “We wanted to do one where we gave him good visibility, because he gave visibility to the city of Milwaukee.”

Dan Nelson Jr., a longtime Bucks season-ticket holder and owner of the 600 East Building on Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Avenue, gave permission for the mural to be painted on the side of that structure. Ramirez started working on it on April 25.

Hundreds of fans gathered to celebrate the completion of the mural, many of whom posed for selfies in front of it.

Antetokounmpo was not at the event as he prepared for Game 6, but he has said how much he appreciates the existence of the mural.

“It’s amazing,” Antetokounmpo said after a recent playoff game. “When you play basketball, you never expect things like this. You just play basketball because you love the game and you enjoy the game. I feel like once you When you dedicate yourself to the team and the city, people feel that way. They appreciate it, and things like that happen.”

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson attended Friday’s ceremony and said the mural was “a new reminder of who we are as a city and nation” and showed how “the American dream is alive and well.”

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Antetokounmpo grew up in poverty in Greece before coming to Milwaukee as the 15th pick in the 2013 draft and developing into one of the game’s top players. He signed a Supermax extension with the Bucks in December 2020 Instead of becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Seven months after signing that extension, Antetokounmpo was named the MVP of the NBA Finals After taking the Bucks to the championship.

“He was proud to do it the hard way,” Johnson said. “That’s how we do it in cities like Milwaukee.”

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More Associated Press NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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