Before winning his first NBA championship, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo used to imagine how it would change his life: how it would be a weight lifted off his shoulders and how he'd finally be able to exhale.
"But it's false," Antetokounmpo said after the Bucks received their 2021 championship rings. "If you're a competitor, your mind creates something different, a different challenge. You might say, 'OK I did it one time, I need to do it a second time.' And when you do it a second time, you want to do it a third time."
For players like Antetokounmpo, there's always a new goal to achieve, always a new slight -- real or perceived -- to acknowledge.
"We're still the Milwaukee Bucks. At the end of the day, there's a lot of people out there that still don't believe we can do it again," Antetokounmpo said.
Antetokounmpo, 26, has already found his place among the basketball legends; last week he was named to the NBA's list of 75 greatest players of all time at the start of his ninth year in the NBA. He is already a two-time MVP. He has won a Defensive Player of the Year award. He has made five consecutive All-Star teams.
A week into the NBA season, the Bucks (3-1) don't appear to be suffering from a championship hangover. Not on a team with Antetokounmpo as its best player. The Bucks, who have moved up to No. 1 in ESPN's latest Power Rankings, had a dominant season-opening victory over the Brooklyn Nets, followed by wins against the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers despite a rotation undermanned by injuries.