Former BYU basketball guard Elijah Bryant has had quite the back-to-back professional basketball seasons.
By winning a Euroleague championship with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes on Saturday, he became just the second player ever to win an NBA championship and a Euroleague title in back-to-back seasons.
He joined Jim Brewer, who accomplished the same feat in the 1980s.
What did winning NBA and Euroleague titles back-to-back mean to Elijah Bryant?
After winning an NBA title with the Milwaukee Bucks last summer, Bryant also became just the 11th player to win both an NBA and Euroleague championship in their careers, a group that includes Manu Ginobili and Toni Kukoc.
“I cried for both of them, actually. But I cried a little bit more for this one,” he told BasketNews after Anadolu Efes won the Euroleague title. “There are a lot of emotions involved. I had a bigger contribution in this one, but it’s rare, man! I’m super grateful.”
By small and simple things are great things brought to pass! Never stop believing in yourself kids 🙏🏽💙 OC© pic.twitter.com/FtTgj8wYVs— Elijah Bryant (@Elijah_Bryant3) May 22, 2022
What did Elijah Bryant learn from winning an NBA title with the Bucks?
Bryant’s time with the Bucks was brief; he signed with the team just before its title-winning playoff run last season, and he averaged 4.5 minutes and 1.3 points per game in 11 postseason game appearances.
The time in the NBA taught him a valuable lesson.
“It was short, but I was able to get a championship, gain a lot of knowledge from the older guys, veterans like Giannis (Antetokounmpo), Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday. I was able to learn a lot in the short stint I was there,” Bryant told BasketNews last October, after the Bucks waived him and he signed with Efes shortly thereafter.
“It definitely opened my eyes to see that I can play at that level. When it’s my time, I’ll be there.”
How did Elijah Bryant help Anadolu Efes win a title this season?
Bryant was a key role player during his first season playing for Anadolu Efes, which also won the 2021 Euroleague championship.
During the regular season, he averaged 5.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in just under 20 minutes of play.
In the Euroleague semifinals, he played a big part in helping Efes win, scoring a season-high 16 points and adding four 3-pointers, six rebounds and a block to help his team edge Olympiacos.
Bryant didn’t score in the Euroleague championship game win over Real Madrid, but he added a team-high eight rebounds and an assist while helping hold Real Madrid to 18.2% shooting from 3-point range.
Glory to my lord and savior Jesus Christ! OC© https://t.co/B2x3dIcNpj— Elijah Bryant (@Elijah_Bryant3) May 21, 2022
Bryant, who signed a two-year deal with Anadolu Efes last year, reflected on his decision to sign with the now back-to-back Euroleague champs.
“There were some other teams I could have signed with, offering me a bigger role. But I want to play for championships every year,” Bryant told BasketNews. “At the end of your career, you don’t look at your bank account, but at how many championships you’ve got. I want to build a legacy — that’s my plan.”