Giannis is ‘forever grateful’ to fired Budenholzer

Giannis Antetokounmpo ‘forever grateful’ to Mike Budenholzer


What Budenholzer’s firing could mean for Giannis’ future with Bucks (2:20)

Brian Windhorst and CJ McCollum analyze what Mike Budenholzer’s firing from the Milwaukee Bucks could mean for Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future with the team. (2:20)

  • Jamal Collier, ESPNMay 9, 2023, 12:55 PM ET

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo posted a message to his Instagram account Tuesday thanking Mike Budenholzer for his five seasons coaching Milwaukee along with photos of the two embracing after winning the 2021 NBA Finals.

“Thank you for five meaningful years Coach,” Antetokounmpo wrote. “We accomplished something unbelievable and I’m forever grateful.”

Budenholzer was fired by Milwaukee last week in the aftermath of the Bucks’ first-round loss to the Miami Heat. They entered the playoffs as the NBA’s top overall seed but lost to the eighth seed in the East in five games, becoming only the sixth No. 1 seed in NBA history to lose to a No. 8 seed.

However, Antetokounmpo became a two-time MVP under Budenholzer and the Bucks transformed into one of the best organizations in the NBA during his five seasons as head coach. During his tenure, the Bucks went 271-120 (.693) during the regular season, the best record in the league across that span. The Bucks won the 2021 NBA Finals with Budenholzer as head coach, but had their share of playoff disappointments — losing in the first round to Miami both in the bubble in 2020 and again last month.

Budenholzer also posted a farewell message to his Instagram account this week, thanking the city of Milwaukee and Bucks organization.

“It’s been an incredible five years for me and my family,” Budenholzer said on Instagram. “The city of Milwaukee and the entire Bucks organization took us in and treated us like we were part of their own family.

“Together we won a lot. Together we won an NBA championship. The first championship in 50 years. The memories of the parade, watching the entire city celebrating with the players and staff as the buses made their way through the streets of Milwaukee, that is something we will all cherish forever.”

Antetokounmpo wasn’t done on social media, tweeting Tuesday afternoon, “I’m tired of all the disrespect. I’m coming.”

He finished third in MVP voting after averaging 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists this season. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to the best record in the league before missing two games, and part of a third, because of a back injury in Milwaukee’s shocking first-round loss to the Heat.