‘Didn’t Want to See Kids Burning My Jersey’: Giannis Antetokounmpo Takes Subtle Dig at LeBron James

Published 12/18/2020, 2:20 AM EST
Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) of the Milwaukee Bucks wears street clothes before the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets on Monday, March 9, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


The biggest question coming into this off-season was whether Giannis Antetokounmpo would sign the Supermax with Bucks or enter unrestricted free agency next season. The 2-time MVP certainly made a statement of his commitment to the Bucks with his announcement to stay with the city.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Shortly after his massive announcement, the ‘Greek Freak‘ was a part of a press conference. In the presser, he was asked about how he felt about fans rooting for him in the years to come. To this, he said, “I have seen people decide to leave and people burn their jerseys. I did not want that to happen to me. I didn’t want to see kids burning my jersey and all that.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Although one can’t say this with certainty, the comment seemed like a subtle dig at LeBron James‘ decision to leave Cleveland and join the Miami Heat instead. LeBron along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh formed the Big Three. The backlash to ‘The Decision‘ was massive, as Cavs fans were outraged with the move.

Considering that Bron has always been compared to Michael Jordan, his decision to join the Heat was under massive scrutiny. He redeemed himself and the Cavs by winning them their maiden championship at the end of the 2015-16 season after they defeated the Golden State Warriors.

Giannis’ 5-year extension will see the Greek Freak staying with the Bucks till the 2023-24 season. Had he not signed the extension, Giannis could have entered free agency next season, where a certain Miami Heat team were the favorite to land the 2-time MVP.

What’s next for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks?

When the off-season started, the Bucks had already started making moves. They had first traded to bring in Jrue Holiday and had also signed Bogdan Bogdanovic. Unfortunately, the Bogdanovic trade fell through and the Greek Freak signing his extension became even more uncertain.

Giannis however made a statement as he signed the massive 5-year contract worth $228 million. This now gives the Bucks a championship window with a star entering his prime.

The Bucks have brought in a much needed upgrade by bringing in Jrue Holiday in place of Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe was one of the best performers for the Bucks but was underwhelming in the last three playoff campaigns.

While Holiday might have come at a steep cost, he is regarded as the best defender by many NBA players. He guarantees more output, both defensively and offensively, for the Bucks. Holiday has also proven effective in the playoffs.

Although bringing in Holiday is a step in the right direction, it does not make them instant favorites by any means. The Bucks still lack quality, especially in their bench.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The front office should now try to surround the Greek Freak with better players. Bringing in some quality veterans might also be the answer for them.

These five years are the most crucial seasons for the organisation. If they win a title, they will suddenly transform themselves into a team players want to join. If they don’t, they might see their star move away in search of some silverware and they might just remain a playoff team at max.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Aditya Mohapatra

845 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT