Retired players criticize a lot in modern basketball. "Back in my day ..." is one of their most uttered sentences. While the modern style of play is the primary cause of such sentences, a close second are the friendships. These millennials are all just too friendly and nice to each other.
In that regard, Giannis would probably win "Mr. Congeniality" if retired players were to be asked. He doesn't shoot threes, dominates in the post and doesn't like to be friendly with his rivals. Now that's a man in their own liking.
In a recent interview for The Athletic, Giannis share how he was invited to participate in a summer game with LeBron, KD, Melo, and Harden in New York but he decided not to go.
“I can’t work out with you in the summer and then play you in a few months. It feels weird. It doesn’t feel right with me. Like other players, it’s cool for other players, but I don’t. I don’t want to. Other guys do it.”
He did reach out to Kobe for a summer session, so it's not like he doesn't want to learn and measure himself against the best. He is more old-school in the way that his competitive drive wouldn't be the same if he hung out with you.
Interestingly enough, he believes that LeBron working out with KD for two summers in 2011 and 2012 didn't benefit KD as much as he thinks. Giannis is convinced that LeBron used it to gain an advantage on a psychological aspect of the game, and Giannis doesn't want that happening.
This is something MJ was famous for. He would use every opportunity to gain an advantage, there are many stories of him meeting opposing teams in the same city and even though he wouldn't have a game against you soon, he would try to plant the seed of weakness anyway he could.
This theory is most used in regard to Charles Barkley. Chuck and MJ became friends while playing and many believe MJ used it in the Finals against the Suns. Now, people react differently, so it is possible, but I sincerely doubt it that. From personal experience, there is no-one I enjoy betaing than my best friends.
Anyway, we shouldn't expect to see Giannis posting videos of workouts with other stars in the league anytime soon.
photo by Keith Allison