Milwaukee Bucks two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on a media tour this summer. Close to a month ago, Antetokounmpo spoke with New York Times reporter Tania Ganguli about why he chose not to sign a contract extension this offseason. Antetokounmpo signed a five-year $228 million supermax extension in 2020, and he will wait to see how everything unfolds this year before deciding to re-sign.
Nearly a month later, Antetokounmpo made his first-ever podcast appearance. He joined the 48 Minutes podcast hosted by former Bucks assistant Ross Geiger.
Antetokounmpo touched on topics ranging from his comparison to Hakeem Olajuwon to his future in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on the comparison between him and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has heard many comparisons throughout his career, but the one he hasn’t heard is of Hakeem Olajuwon. Antetokounmpo was asked if he’s the next Hakeem Olajuwon and if there are similarities between his and Hakeem’s game.
“That’s a great compliment to be in the same sentence as Hakeem Olajuwon.” Antetokounmpo said. “Probably one of the best international players to ever play this game, and 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 stayed with his teammates, and won two championships…
“He carried himself the right way, you know he wasn’t about the things off the court, he was only about basketball and his family a lot of similarities in me and him.”
Antetokounmpo on if his and Hakeem’s games are similar.
“I’m not the one to say that, I hope you guys, the fans, and historians of the game are able to compare, and see if there are similaries in our game but that’s a great compliment.”
Antetokounmpo said that he plans to travel to Houston to train with Olajuwon, which is a big deal because Olajuwon has worked with some of the best basketball players in the world to help them develop a dominant post-game. While Antetokounmpo has an elite post-game, it doesn’t hurt to work with one of the greatest low-post players of all time.
Giannis Antetokounmpo on what he learned from last season’s early-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat and his future in Milwaukee.
After the Milwaukee Bucks season ended in a demoralizing five-game defeat against the eight-seeded Miami Heat, the team made one massive change. After the season, the team fired Mike Budenholzer as head coach after five seasons and hired Adrian Griffin as the new head coach.
The Bucks had high expectations to win the NBA Finals, and losing in five games to an eight-seed was a disappointment. Antetokounmpo was asked how much that loss motivated him and what he hopes to do for next season.
“A lot, at the end of the day for me personally, in my lowest moment in my career I’ve tried the most, and hopefully it’s one of the same scenerios here…
“The goal is to always win a championship, and we wasn’t able to do that last year, we did not accomplish the goal.” “The way we performed in the playoffs wasn’t the way anybody in the Bucks organization would want us to perform.” “We diddn’t accomplish our goals, and we played bad basketball, and my injury in the first game played a big part of my rhythm and the team’s rhythm.”
Antetokounmpo did not play for Greece in the FIBA Basketball World Cup due to off-season knee surgery but says he hopefully can be back by training camp.
“I’m excited I haven’t played basketball all offseason, because I did the procedure on my knee,” I’m getting slowly back on the court now hopefully I can be back, and ready for training camp with the team, and I can participate in the preseason games because I kinda miss it, and the last taste I have in my mouth is beaten from that game…
“I’m excited I really want to go out there and play good basketball help my team be great, and really want to go at people.” I want to take the challenge, and whatever at the end of the day whatever the season leads us to, it’s going to be great.”
The question that immediately followed is a question people ask Giannis every year: What is his future in Milwaukee? He said staying with the Bucks comes down to one factor: winning.
“I’m a winner.” Antetokounmpo declared. “But at the end of the day, I am a winner I want to be a winner.” “Contracts, fame, status, comfort zone does not matter to me, what matters at the end of the day is that thing right there that thing matters… [*Antetokounmpo points to the NBA Finals Trophy behind him*.]
“I don’t want to be able to get stuck, in this lifetime to keep on talking about the same story, Antetokounmpo said. “Oh we went Game Six in the NBA Finals; we won; we were down 2-0 we came back won four games.” I’m tired of hearing the same story over and over again, I feel like people get stuck on that, which is unbelievable it’s great I know people get excited I know that we hadn’t won a championship in 50 years, but at the end of the day I want to create new memories.”
“I want to win another championship, we talk about Hakeem he has two championships, the moment I win a second championship, maybe I can be compared to Hakeem, but right now I cannot be compared to Hakeem he has two I have one.”
“At the end of the day, if the Milwaukee Bucks organization, which is the same thing I’ve said every single year I’ve been with the Bucks, Antetokounmpo stated. As long as we are in for a championship, as long as nobody is comfortable, as long as everybody sacrifice the same amount of time, sweat, and blood that I’ve sacrificed for the city, to win a championship we are all good.”
Giannis has been clear from the beginning about what Milwaukee has to do to keep him long-term. Build a title-contending team around him, or as he put it. “Don’t get comfortable.”
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