Milwaukee Bucks: “World Champions of what? The United States?”
These were the exact words Noah Lyles uttered in his recent tirade against the NBA — one that got him a ton of backlash from both players and fans alike.
Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has now shared his two cents worth on this raging debate, and most fans will probably be surprised by what the one-time NBA champ has to say about this polarizing topic.
Noah Lyles Slammed by NBA Stars After Contentious Comments
In a recent, now-viral interview, United States Olympian Noah Lyles decided to call out the NBA for its “World Champions” claim. Lyles made it abundantly clear that he sees no sense in the league naming its top team as the champions of the world:
“You know what hurts me the most is that I have to watch the NBA Finals and they have ‘world champion’ on their head,” Lyles said. “World champion of what? The United States?”
Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Devin Booker were some of the superstars who reacted to Lyles’ blatant disrespect, which also fired up a whole lot of brouhaha on social media.
You have to admit, though, that Lyles does have a bit of a point. How can the NBA declare its winner as the “World Champions” when the participating teams represent just two countries? The counter-argument, though, is that the NBA has the very best players on the entire planet, making it the most prestigious league in the world.
Either way, what you can say for sure is that there are certainly two sides to this particular story.
Milwaukee Bucks Star Giannis Antetokounmpo Chimes in
If you ask Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, though, he has made it clear that he is on Team Lyles. Speaking on a recent podcast appearance, the former NBA MVP explained why he believes the Olympian’s statements have merit:
“I wanted to back him up so bad, you know,” Antetokounmpo said on the 48 minutes podcast (h/t Scott Polaceck of Bleacher Report). “He received so much backlash for saying the, like, obvious.
“… “I don’t think in any other sport you are called the world champions. You know, like in soccer, which is way bigger than the NBA, more popular than the NBA. When the Champions League, the UEFA Champions League, you know, champions….they don’t say the world champion, you know. When they win the World Cup, they play against the USA team, they play against the teams around the world, you know, countries around the world, then they say world champs.”
Giannis did concede that “the NBA is the best league in the world and the talent in the NBA is the best that you will ever see in your life. It’s not even close.”
“I don’t say that there’s other teams out there that they can beat the Denver Nuggets, for example. I’m not saying that,” he continued. “But you’re gonna have to respect, you know, those teams and say yeah, I’m the NBA champ, I’m the VTB champ, I’m the EuroLeague champ, I’m the Greek champ, I’m the Spanish champ, I’m the French league champ.”
Anteotkounmpo himself admitted that he’s probably going to “get some backlash” for his hot take on this subject. After all, you can’t disagree with the notion that NBA fans are some of the most passionate supporters in the entire world — especially on social media.
At the same time, however, Giannis also noted that “I really do not care. I totally agree with him.”
For More Wisconsin Sports:
Follow me on Twitter at @PaoloSongcoNBA, and follow us @WiSportsHeroics. Also, check out our Merchandise Here! Get 20% off with the code “WSH.” You can also reach out to Paolo Songco via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in ALL of Wisconsin sports, click here! Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks, Wisconsin Badgers.