Giannis Antetokounmpo says Germany is the only team which can be called “World Champions”

2023-09-13T08:25:41+00:00 2023-09-13T09:44:20+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

13/Sep/23 08:25

The Greek Freak praised the German national team by going back at Noah Lyles’ “World Champions” debate

By Cesare Milanti /

Prior to the final phase of the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila and following his gold medal win at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Noah Lyles shared a controversial opinion regarding whether NBA champions should be called World Champions.

While most of the superstars in the best league on the planet went at him, Giannis Antetokounmpo stood tall with the 26-year-old American phenomenon in the latest episode of the “48 Minutes “podcast. “I wanted to back him up so badly. He received so much backlash for saying the obvious, but some people don’t understand it. Maybe there’s just arrogance in it”, he first said.

In the Quarter-Finals of EuroBasket 2022, the Greek Freak lost against the German national team 107-96 after dropping a performance of 31 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, and saw the true potential of Gordie Herbert’s squad.

After Germany’s triumph in the Philippines, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar praised them referring to what Noah Lyles first said. “Germany won the 2023 FIBA World Cup and they can say “We are the World Champions”. They beat the USA and then they beat the Serbian national team”, he said.

“Playing in the World Cup, when you play against The USA and other countries around the world, then they say you’re the World Champions. Manu Ginobili said it the best because when Argentina won the World Cup in 2006 he could say he was the World Champ, because he went there, beat the Greek team which previously beat the USA, he beat the Spanish and Brazilian teams”, Giannis Antetokounmpo explained.

Despite the most exciting basketball tournament in the world being played in the USA, the 2x NBA MVP totally agrees with the American athlete. “At the end of the day, in order for you to be the World Champ, you have to beat the World. I understand the NBA is the best league in the world and its talent is the best you’ll ever see in your life. It’s not even close. But we can’t say we are the World Champions because you play in the best league in the world. You have to respect those teams who are the EuroLeague, Greek, Spanish, and French champs”, he said.

“I may get some backlash for this, but I don’t care: I totally agree with him [Noah Lyles], because he’s on the world stage. He’s the best in the USA, but then he beat other competitors around the world. That’s where you can call yourself a World Champ, competing against everybody in the world”, the Greek superstar added.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is proud to be called the next Hakeem Olajuwon

During the conversation in the “48 Minutes” podcast, the 28-year-old commented on being considered the next Hakeem Olajuwon. “That’s a great compliment to be in the same sentence as Hakeem Olajuwon. One of the best international players to ever play this game. For sure the best African player to ever play this game. I loved his game. I always tried to study his game. I loved that he did it the right way; he stuck with his teammates and won two championships”, he said.

Continuing to comment on the former Houston Rockets superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo praised him. “If I can kind of take a few things from his game, or learn anything from the few days I’m going to spend with him, it’s going to be a blessing. It’s a guy I looked up to my whole life. It’s a guy my parents looked up to because he was the number one guy in Nigeria. He was the best athlete… in Africa”, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar commented.

The 2x NBA MVP, who grew up in Greece with Nigerian roots, also spoke on whether he feels more European or African. “We grew up in a Nigerian household. Sometimes the way I operate, it’s a little bit Greek, it’s a little bit European because I went to school, and most of my friends are Greek and European. It’s a little bit of both”, he said. “At the end of the day, everybody knows that I’m Nigerian”, Giannis Antetokounmpo added.

PHOTO CREDIT: 2022 FIBA EuroBasket

Read all the latest news from the basketball world