Just about a month after finding a way to knock off the Nets in Game 7 of their second-round series, the Milwaukee Bucks used a legendary 50-point performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo to help claim their first title since 1971.
Giannis, a two-time NBA MVP, was crowned the NBA Finals MVP as Milwaukee knocked off the Phoenix Suns, 105-98, in Game 6 on Tuesday night.
And while Giannis’ infectious charm took centerstage during the postgame festivities, the 26-year-old took the opportunity to drop one more hammer on the Nets — and Kevin Durant.
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Giannis Criticizes NBA Superteams
OK, so Antetokounmpo didn’t explicitly call out Durant or the Nets during his postgame press conference.
But he might as well have.
Giannis was asked by a reporter if he could imagine winning a championship the way he and the Bucks did.
“No, man. No,” Giannis said, via Bleacher Report. “I couldn’t live (if we didn’t win a championship) — in other words, there was a job that had to be finished. I feel like the (NBA) Bubble did not pay us justice. Give credit to the Miami Heat (who knocked off the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season), they played great, but it did not pay us justice. Like, everybody was feeling homesick. We had family, we wanted to see our families. But coming back, I was like, ‘This is my city.’ They trust me, they believe in me, they believe in us. Even when we were in last, the city was still on our side. Obviously, I wanted to get the job done.”
And then, the hammer.
“It’s easy to go somewhere and go win a championship with somebody else. It’s easy,” Giannis said. “I could go to – I don’t want to put anybody on the spot — but I could go to a superteam and just do my part and win a championship, but this is the hard way to do it and this is the way we chose to do it. And we did it, we f****** did it. We did it, man.”
There’s been plenty of superteams in the NBA over the league’s decades-long history, but the phrase rose to the peak of its relevance in 2010 when LeBron James joined forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The trio won two titles with the Heat.
But Durant has been the most recent posterboy for the superteam. He left Oklahoma City in 2016 to join a stacked Golden State team that won a title a year earlier, and then proceeded to win a championship in consecutive seasons with Durant on board.
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Giannis Has Tons of Respect for K.D.
Even with his Tuesday comments in mind, it’s clear that Antetokounmpo has a world of respect for Durant.
That much was reemphasized in early May, when the Nets and Bucks went back and forth in a thriller that saw Milwaukee escape with a 117-114 win. Durant dropped 42 points in that one, but Giannis bested him with 49.
“I was not going back and forth with KD,” Giannis said afterward. “K.D. is one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game — you cannot play that way. If you go back and forth with a guy like that, he is going to score 50, 70.”