Reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was recently interviewed by Sam Amick of The Athletic and provided some insight into last year’s championship with the Bucks, this season’s MVP race, and a few other topics. Here are a couple highlights:
On being more focused on winning another championship versus a third MVP:
“Nah, I want another championship. You know, like, the joy that I felt when I won the MVP was unbelievable. I was with my family. I wish my (late) Dad was there. That was an unbelievable feeling. Grateful. But the joy that I felt when I won a championship, there’s no comparing. There’s no comparing (an MVP) to the joy of being on the bus and seeing 200,000 people celebrating — White, Black, Hispanic, or whatever the case may be. Everybody was celebrating, and you’re giving everybody that joy.
“There were people that had never seen a championship for 50 years. (They’d say), ‘The last time I saw the championship, I was two years old.’ You know? That’s a different type of joy. It’s not just me being able to win the award. The whole city won an award. That’s what I want, you know? And hopefully, God can bless me and give me that. I’ll do whatever I can do to do it.”
On playing through a hyperextended knee, which could have been catastrophic:
“It killed me. Game 1, there was a play where Jae Crowder shot and I stepped on his leg. And you know how he does this kick thing, and I literally tried to avoid him and he kicked me on my leg and my leg hyperextended (for the second time — Antetokounmpo hyperextended the same leg in the Eastern Conference Finals against Atlanta).
“What basically happened is that if my leg had hyperextended one more time…(claps hands) I was done. There’s nothing to cut that was in there. It was torn already. It was out — (the piece that) protected me from an MCL or ACL (tear). There’s a thing (in your leg) that protects you when you hyperextend (your knee) that doesn’t let you go all the way back. So that thing was torn. So if I had gone all the way back again, that’d be it for me.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen where people wear a big brace on your knee, like Goran Dragic wears — a big brace. They (the Bucks) told me, ‘Giannis, Tim Duncan wore this (so) wear this.’ I said, ‘Heeeell naw.’ They said, ‘Giannis, you need to wear this.’ And they had made one specifically for me. I said, ‘Hell. No. I’m not wearing that s—.'”
Amick’s full interview with Antetokounmpo can be found here.
Here’s more on the Bucks:
- After starting 57 of 63 games this season, Bobby Portis could have griped about being replaced by incumbent center Brook Lopez (recently returned from back surgery), but Portis says he’s fine with coming off the bench. “Right now is not the time for nobody to be talking about minutes or things like that. It’s all about the team. It’s all about trying to win. Be the best Bucks basketball team we can be,” Portis said, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “Eleven games left, just trying to play our best basketball. Like I said, in life, sacrifice is always the biggest thing. Obviously, everybody’s role is going to be shifted a little bit, but that’s part of the plan, part of playing a team sport.”
- Khris Middleton will miss his second straight game Thursday against Washington due to a sore left wrist, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Middleton fell on the wrist last Saturday against Minnesota and coach Mike Budenholzer said the team hopes it’s a short-term injury.
- DeAndre’ Bembry underwent successful surgery Wednesday to repair his torn right ACL and MCL, the team announced (via Twitter). Bembry suffered the injury on March 12 and will miss the remainder of the season, and likely most of next season as well.