Βy Aris Barkas/ barkas@Eurohoops.net
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s decision on the upcoming contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks remains the main pending question in the NBA. And while Giannis didn’t tackle directly the supermax question, he addressed the issue of pairing up with other stars.
When asked in an extended interview to Greek channel COSMOTE TV about the reports according to which he is taking pride in being the top player on his team and trying to get to a championship title by himself, Giannis clarified that this is simply not the case: “For sure I am proud of what we have achieved with this team, starting from 15 wins and getting to 60. And last season we could have gotten to 65-70 wins. But being proud of not having support around me, it’s not true. If I was the fifth or sixth-best player on the team, I would have been ok with that”.
As he elaborated further: “This is a statement that I have never made before. If LeBron and Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis came to Milwaukee; I would have been good with that. I am not interested if I am the top, second or third name, ok? Because I want to win… For sure when I was 18 or 19 years old, maybe I didn’t understand what you need to do to win. But right now, I am 25 and I want to win because when I retire, that’s what people will remember. And if I got LeBron, KD, Davis, if all those came, I wouldn’t mind at all. I don’t care if I am the top (player) on the team”.
Giannis didn’t hide his respect towards LeBron James, stating that he would vote him for MVP, if he couldn’t vote for himself.
He also made fun of those who think that he should be offended if LeBron gets the award: ” So I should get mad right now if LeBron wins the MVP and not me? Don’t get crazy… that would mean that I lost my head. Guys, seven years ago I was looking up to LeBron. He was like… Like Jordan for everyone else. For me, that was LeBron. And now I am on the same sentence with LeBron”.
For the Greek Freak, LeBron remains a role-model: “LeBron is, of course, a great opponent and I want to beat him and he is the best player in the world right now. It doesn’t matter who is the MVP, he is the best. I say so, he is the best in the world. The day that I would be the best player in the world, I will step forward and say it. At this moment, the best is LeBron James. For sure he is the example I follow and not only on the court but as a human being. He is part of this business, called the NBA, for 17 years and you have never heard anything negative about LeBron. He never did anything wrong, he goes out, does his job, he tries to win all the time”.
Giannis also explained why the championship title of his brother Kostas with the Lakers made him proud and happy: “Those who say: “Kostas won a title before Giannis”. Guys, that thing does not exist. We were all sleeping together in a small room. And Thanasis is a two-time Greek champion, Kostas is an NBA champion and I am a two-time MVP. We are one family. Imagine what my mother is feeling”.
Last but not least, Giannis said that he will play until he’s 40 years of age in order to win titles and create a legacy both in the NBA and with the Greek national team: “I will not stop playing until I get what I want to achieve. I want to win a medal; I want to win an NBA championship. I may continue until I am 45. I am not in hurry, I will be here. I think that day by day in order to get to the next level and reach the point I want to, I have to improve my shooting ability, my free throws, and that will happen. Because I am putting in a lot of work and I believe in myself.
And day by day it will come…”