There was a time in the NBA when players absolutely detest their opponents. They just couldn’t stomach their rivals on and off the court. If you’re not on their team, you’re their bête noire, no questions asked. At least that’s what the older generation of NBA fans make sure to tell their children when they tuck them in at night. That’s also why the same type of fans hate seeing players today get pretty chummy with those from other teams, especially in the offseason when dudes from different squads work out together.
Well, not Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The two-time league Most Valuable Player recently guested on the 48 Minutes podcast and revealed his plan to hook up with former Houston Rockets big man Hakeem Olajuwon to train in the offseason. He also provided an intriguing reason why he doesn’t love the idea of polishing his game together with current players.
“I always compete against them so when I am on the court, I want to go as hard as I can,” Antetokounmpo commented. “I feel like the moment I am around you, I become your friend because I give everything. I don’t know how to be, how you call it, phony. I don’t know how to be fake.”
Antetokounmpo’s mindset is that of a man who’s been advised not to give names to pigs so it would be easier to slaughter them. He simply doesn’t want to develop an unnecessary form of positive relationship with the men whom he must have the burning desire to dominate on the court.
With the Bucks coming off a letdown 2022-23 season in which they were embarrassingly shown the door right in the very first round of the playoffs despite being a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Antetokounmpo knows he’s got to be better. And if that entails being a recluse among his peers, then he’d gladly take that path.