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 extra special tonight, giving his team 50 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks to lead his team to victory. The Greek Freak also made 17 of his 19 free throws to shoot just under 90 percent from the line, but his most significant contribution to this run might have been reading a text from a young NBA journeyman before this season.
Its been a journey full of ups and downs for Bobby Portis. From his altercation with former teammate Nikola Mirotić to disappointing stints with the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks, missing out on the bubble seemed like a sign that this was the beginning of the end for Bobby's short yet controversial NBA career.
However, being the fighter that he was, Bobby decided to take a chance and text Giannis suggesting that he could help the team get over the hump instead of letting his past haunt him. Today, Portis is an NBA champion and instrumental in the Bucks getting to the finals and eventually securing that ring. So instrumental that the fans at Fizer Forum demanded that Bobby be given the mic in the awarding ceremony to be interviewed by Malika Andrews. Portis then briefly shared the struggles he went through to get to where he is today.
"It means the world. For 10 months straight, I was just working out, real depressed, real down on myself for 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 Awarding Ceremony
When the NBA Bubble was put together, Bobby Portis was with the New York Knicks, a team buried at the bottom of the standings and did not have any reason to be invited to Orlando. Still, Bobby has made it known through some interviews in recent weeks that he struggled with not playing NBA basketball for so long. Portis is a true baller 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 would eventually get his chance when the Bucks signed him last off-season in an effort to surround Giannis with the pieces needed to compete for a title.
Quite frankly, Portis was never viewed around the league as a championship-type player due to his rocky past. It's tricky to take a chance on a guy with a history of punching teammates and sending them to the hospital. As it turns out, Milwaukee saw through that and found the toughness needed to compete in the Playoffs in Portis. In the past few years, they were getting punked by teams that were not as talented but tougher than them. This year, they turned the tables on the league by adding guys like PJ Tucker, Jrue Holiday, and Bobby Portis.
Bobby stepped up in Giannis' absence in games against the Hawks by providing scoring and rebounding to help fill the void the Greek Freak left. When Giannis returned, he went back to the bench but stayed ready. Starting Game 3, Bobby played critical minutes down the stretch, providing Milwaukee with a more agile alternative to Brook Lopez while not necessarily downgrading 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 Phoenix's guards while not giving up easy buckets to DeAndre Ayton. If there were an award for the sixth man of 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 on the floor tonight, the only player with a positive coming off the bench for the Bucks. Bobby's performance was remarkable as he hit big shots down the stretch and one that closes a chapter 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 of each roster you find guys to whom championships mean just as much in the limited minutes that they play. Stars fight for their legacies, but role players like Portis fight for their lives, and it was amazing to see him come out of this one victorious.
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