On the basketball court, Giannis Antetokounmpo stands at 6’11” tall. He is a dominating presence even in the National Basketball Association. But an even larger presence of the two-time MVP and NBA champ looms over anyone walking past the office building at 600 East Wisconsin Avenue.
Rendered by artists Mauricio Ramirez and Tone Gómez, the 54’ by 56’ mural is the latest effort by the Milwaukee community to show appreciation for the remarkable athlete.
Ramirez, who has painted many large scale murals, in Milwaukee and across the nation, has a distinctive style of using prismatic fragments of colors to render his figures. But the Giannis mural was a departure from that aesthetic.
Ramirez had never painted in a photorealism style on this scale before, and took on the project with a bit of apprehension. But he saw it as a chance to challenge himself and move out of his comfort zone. The stakes were high to deliver, because Ramirez was painting a larger-than-life figure at an extremely larger-than-life size.
“I’m honored to paint this photorealistic mural of Giannis Antetokounmpo on Wisconsin Avenue, a prime location in downtown Milwaukee,” said Ramirez. “This collaboration is a nod to one of the greatest basketball players in the game and what he has done and continues to do for our city.”
In Milwaukee, loyal and casual fans of the Bucks have flocked to the site to get their photos taken in front of the mural as it was being installed over two weeks.
Prior to their championship victory in July 2021, the Bucks had not won the title since 1971. That 50 year drought ended when Giannis scored 50 points in Game 6 to capture the NBA trophy.
Giannis is a beloved figure in Milwaukee, not only because of his accomplishments on the basketball floor, but also because of his unwavering loyalty to the city and the franchise that drafted him in 2013.
Many superstars in the NBA move on to join teams in bigger markets where they earn more money and have a better chance to win the NBA championship. Giannis decided to do it the blue collar way. He stayed in Milwaukee, worked hard, and brought the championship home.
Ramirez sees Giannis as the next generation of greatness, following Michael Jordan. The mural depicts Giannis in his vibrant green uniform with his back to the viewers, and his hands resting on his hips.
The finished mural was revealed at a special celebratory event on May 13, during Game 6 of the Bucks play off series against Boston. This collection of images was taken as the mural installation process neared its conclusion.