Charles Barkley often says some questionable things publicly, but he often makes a lot of common sense. In the last couple of days, there was a lot of attention pointed towards Giannis Antetotkounmpo because of two main reasons. First, he won the second straight regular-season MVP award, which he definitely deserved. Secondly, unfortunately for him and the MilwaukeeBucks, they've exited the playoffs much sooner than anyone expected. That playoff loss against the Miami Heat raised the questions of whether Giannis will be a member of the Bucks past next season and what they can do to improve as a team.
The media immediately assumed Giannis is leaving the Bucks. There was also a discussion that the Bucks' early exit is because he didn't play on the same level as he did in the regular season. Barkley thinks nobody has the right to judge someone who is only 25-years-old for not winning a championship. He explained it perfectly by comparing the road to Michael Jordan's first championship, which eventually happened when he was 28. Jordan did it the right way, by getting better every year and letting his teammates develop and create great chemistry.
Can you imagine if Michael Jordan left the Bulls at the age of 25? He didn't win his first championship until he was 28. It's funny to me how all these guys on tv today saying he didn't win a championship. Well, he is 25 years old. First of all, it's not the right passage where you have to win a championship. I don't want him to go and cheat by joining other guys and win it. I want him to get better as a player.
Charles Barkley, via Inside the NBA
Gianni's mindset has to accept everything that happened and continue to develop his game, predominantly shooting, which will then create a lot more things for his teammates. When Jordan was about Giannis's age, he had to go through Boston Celtics and, for the most part, Detroit Pistons on his way to first championships. Jordan knew he had to improve his game even further, and he trusted his teammates enough, and this is something Giannis will have to learn.
Barkley pointed out he would prefer if Giannis stays with the Bucks and builds a legacy similar to Dirk Nowitzki. Despite everything, Dirk stayed dedicated and loyal to his franchise, and it eventually paid off big time. That is something Barkley wants for Giannis, and he rightfully so hopes he doesn't join other big names to enable an easier route to a championship.
That Michael Jordan documentary was great. Just watching when they were beating the hell out of Michael and when him and Tim Grover said, when you want to get back to the gym, he said I will see you tomorrow. I would love to see Giannis winning it all in Milwaukee. It won't be the same if he joins other guys and wins. That is why I admire Dirk Nowitzki because he didn't leave. He battled and eventually won it, and it meant more to him then partnering up with other guys.
Charkles Barkley, via Inside the NBA
Giannis recently said he is still not focusing on anything other than his family, but he said that he had a productive meeting with the owners on how they can improve. He is also aware he needs to improve as a player coming into the next season, and that everyone should be on the same page with having a goal to finally make it to the NBA finals. Gianni's contract expires after next season, and it will be interesting to see what his future with the Bucks will look like, but it's evident he is willing to stay and build a legacy in Milwaukee.