“I Might Get Some Backlash for This, but I Really Don’t Care”: Unlike Kevin Durant and Drake, Giannis Antetokounmpo Sides With NBA Critic Noah Lyles

Published 09/12/2023, 1:19 PM EDT

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Noah LylesWorld Champion comment created a brouhaha on the internet two weeks ago. With Team USA’s disappointing exit from the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the remarks are coming back to haunt the USA. Noah Lyles received pushback from many eminent athletes and personalities alike for thrashing the NBA. Among such stars were Kevin Durant and Drake, who criticized the sprinting icon for his patronizing remark. However, it seems Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the NBA world do not see eye to eye about one thing. And the Milwaukee Bucks‘ star sides with NBA critic Noah Lyles.

Giannis Antetokounmpo sides with Noah Lyles

During a recent appearance on the 48 Minutes podcast, the 2x MVP challenged the view of certain athletes who claimed the NBA was the best league; apparently, NBA Champions were rightfully labelled World Champions. Giannis reiterated Lyles’ point. To be hailed as a world champion, one needs to compete with different nations around the world and not just within the USA and Canada. The Greek-Nigerian player said, “I think Germany won the World Cup, correct? Yeah, so Germany can say we are the World Champs. I think they beat the USA team, correct? Then they beat the Serbian team. Man, I might get some backlash for this, but I really do not care. I totally agree with him (Noah Lyles)”.


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The Greek Freak then highlighted why Noah Lyles can claim to be a world champion, while the NBA players cannot. Noah Lyles had to prove himself by competing with the best players in the USA, and then he showed his prowess by battling it out with the best players in the world. Just because the USA has the best league does not mean they are also the best team in the world. He added, “That is when you are a World Champ, when you compete against everybody in the world.”

What did Kevin Durant and Drake have to say to Noah Lyles?

Kevin Durant was one of the first players to hit back at Noah Lyles after his controversial statement. The 3 time Olympian lambasted the track and field star, saying, “Somebody help this brother.”


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Read More: “They’ve Put Great Teams Around Him”: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Recent Warning to Bucks Has ex-NBA Champ Confused

Team USA’s elimination from the 2023 FIBA World Cup acted as a catalyst in stirring up the drama once again. Durant soon issued another statement, in which he claimed that Lyles is envious of the NBA players. As per a Mirror report, Durant said, “I still don’t know what y’all lames taking victory laps for… if you’re jealous of NBA players, just say that.” 

Among the criticizers was the hip-hop sensation Drake, who commented, “He thought this speech was gonna be so hard in the mirror the night before… now the whole league doesn’t rate u.”


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Watch this story: “There Was a Guy With a Greek Last Name”: Giannis Antetokounmpo Led $2,300,000,000 Franchise Could Have Been Steve Ballmer’s Team, Reminisces Clippers Owner

With the entire world trolling the USA right now, their only shot at redemption is the 2024 Paris Olympics. Hopefully, next year the USA can bring home some hardware with them.


Written by:

Darshita Daga


One take at a time

Darshita Daga is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing Bachelor’s in English, she’s a fervent sports enthusiast with a keen interest in sports journalism, specifically covering the NBA. She feels that words have the potential to capture the spirit of a game, evaluate moves, and portray the emotions that occur both on and off the court.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja