Thanasis Antetokounmpo Draws Team USA’s Ire

The FIBA World Cup was bound to create some awkward moments among NBA players. One of those occurred at the end of Team USA’s 69-53 victory over Greece on Saturday, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst details.

Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother of reigning Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, drew Team USA’s ire when he fouled Harrison Barnes from behind late in the game as Barnes went up for a dunk. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and Giannis had to be separated afterward after exchanging words as Brown pointed toward Thanasis, according to Windhorst.

Bucks teammates Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are on Team USA’s roster.

The teams didn’t hold a postgame handshake in order to avoid another confrontation. Team USA was upset that Thanasis, who signed a two-year contract with Milwaukee in July, didn’t immediately apologize to Barnes, who was uninjured.

“The [lack of apology] escalated it,” Marcus Smart said to Windhorst and other media members. “At that moment, you’ve got to take it for what it is. Regardless of whether you feel like it was wrong or right, it was wrong.”

Giannis scored 15 points but sat out the fourth quarter. Greek officials said he was rested as the team tries to qualify for the quarterfinals on Monday. He was too upset to talk to the media afterward, according to an Associated Press report.

Team USA advanced to the quarterfinals with the victory.

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8 thoughts on “Thanasis Antetokounmpo Draws Team USA’s Ire

    • I didn’t see the actual play, but supposedly he pushed Barnes from behind in the back as he went up for a dunk when the game was in hand. That’s a dangerous foul no matter what the context and could have resulted in Barnes getting seriously hurt. Add in that the game was basically decided by then and it makes it look worse. Its essentially a cheap shot foul that Thansis is committing because he’s upset that his team is losing.

  1. Marcus Smart missed his calling as a prosecutor or at least law enforcement in some capacity. “Regardless of whether you feel like it was wrong or right, it was wrong.”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    • thatsright

      He meant regardless of whether Thanasis thought the foul was dirty he should have apologized once it was pointed out that it was dangerous, because if not he just doesn’t get it.

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