Giannis Antetokounmpo is getting ready for the upcoming NBA season to repeat the same success he and the Bucks last season in which they were crowned as NBA champions, and Giannis was the NBA Finals MVP. After a few early exits in the playoffs, the Bucks in some way surprised everyone by winning it all even though a lot of people saw them as a title contender but put other teams ahead of them in the power rankings to win the title. After a lot of criticism he faced because of his shooting in the playoffs, Giannis was able to find his groove and navigate his team to their first championship in 50 years.
In an interview with the Greek television channel COSMOTE TV, Giannis talked about his mindset coming into the next season and being modest as he usually is, believes he shouldn’t be called an MVP or a champion because that might distract him from his initial goals. On the other hand, it’s known Giannis doesn’t have the habit of working out with other NBA players in the summer, and he gave a more precise answer to what is behind his reasoning, and we love it.
“I can’t be fake. I am Giannis. But calling me MVP, calling me champ, calling me the best player in the world, is something that might hold me back. And I don’t want anything holding me back. I want to look forward and be better. That’s why I don’t train with other players. I don’t want to be buddy with them. If we do this and then drink a coffee with them, can I go in the court and use my elbow against them? Can I block or dunk on them? I can’t cause I am authentic. If I love someone, I love him also on the court. I am fully aware of that and I don’t want to put myself in this position.”Giannis Antetokounmpo, via Europhoops.net
Giannis also reflected back on the Finals series against the Suns in which they lost the first two games, and after his injury during game 1 it seemed they won’t have much chance to bounce back. However, the Bucks made proper adjustments heading into game 3, and Giannis was able to clear his thoughts after all the problems he faced from the fans because of his free throw shooting. He even admitted talking with a sports psychiatrist in hopes of getting his problem sorted out because it was affecting his confidence, which essentially hurt the team as well.
I shouldn’t be playing in the Finals. I was hurt in Game 1. I was praying. We lost. In Game 2, I scored 40 and we lost. I was shitting on my pants, I was hurt. After that, we just wanted to defend our home. But then my teammates reacted, the team reacted, Jrue was all over the place. The key was how to manage my fear, my anxiety. I was talking with a sports psychiatrist every day, he helped me be myself. The free throws were a mental issue and I want to continue like this in the next season. And I want to see if we can repeat this as a team. I want to see if we can do it again, myself, my teammates, the owners, everyone”Giannis Antetokounmpo, via Europhoops.net
Everything Giannis said is why NBA fans love him so much and believe he has a mindset the older generation of players used to have. He doesn’t want to be friends with other players because of his competitive spirit and how it might affect his performance. NBA players practicing together over the summer has become a theme for the past few years, and even though many of them say that is the best way to improve their game, fans often disagree with that fact. A notion that too much friendliness is going on in the NBA has become apparent, but Giannis continues to do things his own way, and it’s paying off big time for the Bucks. Hopefully, he can stay consistent because he showcased he really is one of the best players in the world despite being so modest about those claims.