Giannis Antetokounmpo Considered Retiring In 2020 After Signing $228 Million Contract Due To Battle With Stress

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is arguably the best player in the NBA. He’s someone that’s literally on top of the sports world both on and off the court and has already acquired generational wealth at the age of just 28, but he nearly walked away from it all in 2020.

Antetokounmpo recently spoke with Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal about how he very seriously considered retiring in 2020, shortly after signing a record-setting $228 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

“In 2020, I was ready to walk away from the game. I had that conversation – yes – with the front office,” Antetokounmpo said.

“And, you know, very normally, everybody is looking at me like I was crazy. ‘You just signed the largest contract in NBA history and you want to walk away from the game and all that money?”

“Mannnnn, you can take that money and shove it into your…” he continued.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo nearly retired in 2020 due to overwhelming stress. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

The Stress That Nearly Drove Giannis To Retiring

The driving force behind Giannis contemplating retirement? Stress, and a lot of it.

On top of COVID-19 at the forefront, playing inside the NBA bubble in Orlando, and juggling endorsement deals, Antetokounmpo also lost his father around the same time.


Ultimately, Antetokounmpo began talking with a counselor who helped him manage all the stress he was dealing with.

“I kept talking with this (counselor). He helped me a lot – not just being a better basketball player, being able to deal with it; but being a better partner, better father, better brother, better son,” Antetokounmpo said. “Better person. Being not locked into myself, being able to give people what I feel. Because at one point, I was trying to get away from everybody. And that’s not me.”

After contemplating retirement, and signing his massive contract in 2020, Antetokounmpo went on to win his second straight league MVP award and then an NBA title and NBA Finals MVP in 2021. It’s safe to say he came out of the other side of battle with stress rather well.

Written by Mark Harris

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