Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 revealed the finished building-sized mural on May 12 by artist Mauricio Ramirez, created as a tribute to the legendary player Giannis Antetokounmpo for his commitment to the city as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team.
The towering 54’ by 56’ mural transformed the 600 East building on Wisconsin Avenue, highlighting community the pride of Bucks superstar. The event celebrating is completion was attended by a crowd of loyal fans and community leaders.
“We want to congratulate Mauricio Ramirez, the artist who captured the essence of Giannis in this gigantic mural. This is really beyond special,” said Peter Feigin, president of the Milwaukee Bucks. “The Bucks have always dreamed and always talked about being part of the fabric and landscape of Milwaukee. Today, we literally are in the landscape of Milwaukee. We are so proud to promote public artwork in Milwaukee.”
As a National contemporary artist, Ramirez was commissioned to bring the photorealistic representation of Giannis to life. The mural’s location was chosen because of is position along the 2021 Bucks NBA Championship Parade route.
Ramirez worked from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. over 13 days to complete the mural with spray paint, clocking in 250 hours.
Known for his iconic geometric murals, Ramirez has strong ties to Milwaukee. In 2017, he was commissioned by Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 to transform 10 utility box murals on Wisconsin Avenue. His mural work is also featured on the Community Advocates building.
“It’s amazing. 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 when you dedicate yourself to the team and the city, people feel that way. They appreciate it, and things like that happen.” – Giannis Antetokounmpo
Experiencing poverty as he grew up in Greece, Giannis came to Milwaukee as the 15th pick in the 2013 draft. He quickly developed into one of the game’s top players. He signed an extension with the Bucks in December 2020, instead becoming a free agent. Seven months after signing that expansion, Antetokounmpo was named the MVP of the NBA Finals after the Bucks won the championship.
“The mural on this wall is a new reminder of who we are as a city. And as a nation. The American Dream is alive and it is well right here in Milwaukee, and cities like across the country,” said Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “A place where hard work, grit, and determination are recognized. And not just recognized, but also rewarded. Giannis talked about it last time, he did it the hard way. He was proud to do it the hard way. That is how we do things in cities like Milwaukee.”
As part of the event to mark its completion, Ramirez signed the mural with his last can of spray paint.
The Milwaukee Bucks would go on to play Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals hours later against the Boston Celtics. The hometown team lost its bid to achieve the popular prediction of “Bucks in 6,” bringing the series to a tie at 3 games each.
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