Giannis Antetokounmpo takes Noah Lyles’ side in world champion debate


Right after U.S. sprinter Noah Lyles won the men’s 100- and 200-meter world titles in Budapest, Hungary last month, he recieved a lot of criticism for saying that NBA players believe they are ‘world champions’ only because they won their domestic basketball league.

A tsunami of NBA stars took social media by storm to shame the Olympic athlete for his views, including Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Aaron Gordon, Draymond Green, Bam Adebayo and even pop artist Drake.

However, just as Team USA lost three out of their last four FIBA World Cup matches and returned home without a medal, a lot of sport celebrities have supported Lyles’ opinion. One of the last to share his thoughts on the matter was Giannis Antetokounmpo, who clearly agrees with the racing athlete.

“I wanted to back him up so bad. He received so much backlash for saying the obvious,” the Greek international said this Wednesday during an interview on the “48 Minutes” podcast with former Bucks assistant coach Ross Geiger.

“But I think some people don’t understand it. I think it’s — I don’t know, maybe it’s like — sorry, how can I say this politely? Maybe it’s just like an arrogance thing, you know? I don’t think in any other sport you are called the world champions,” the Milwaukee star shared.

Antetokounmpo used soccer as an example, which is the most popular sport in the world, to explain how not even in the most prestigious competitions do they consider themselves global champions.

“In soccer — which is way bigger than the NBA, more popular than the NBA — when they win the Champions League, they say you are the UEFA Champions League champions or whatever the case might be,” Giannis expressed. “They don’t say the world champions. When they win the World Cup, they play against the USA team, they play against the teams around the world, countries around the world, then they say they’re the world champs. But in the NBA, you say they’re the world champs.”

The 28-year-old used former Spurs star Manu Ginobili as his biggest reference, with something he said back in 2006 when he conquered the World Cup with Argentina.

“For me, I think Manu Ginobili said it the best — I don’t know if he ever, maybe I should not be saying this, but I don’t know if he ever went public — he said that, because they won in 2006, Argentina won the World Cup, ‘I’m the world champ. You guys are the NBA champs, but I’m the world champ. Because I went and beat the Greek team that had beat the USA team the previous game. I beat the Spanish team. I beat the Brazilian team. So I’m the world champ’,” he said.

Giannis then went on to share his thoughts over this past Nuggets NBA title and how they would fare against the best clubs in the world

Just as the Denver franchise won their first-ever NBA championship in June, the Bucks foward genuinely believes that the Nuggets would probably beat any other basketball club in the world. However, he insists that nothing can be definite unless they compete against each other.

“I don’t say that there are other teams out there that they can beat the Denver Nuggets, for example — I’m not saying that. But you have to respect those teams and say, ‘Yeah, I’m the NBA champ,’ ‘I’m the VTB champ,’ ‘I’m the Euroleague champ,’ ‘I’m the Greek champ,’ ‘I’m the Spanish champ,’ ‘I’m the French league champ’,” Antetokounmpo expressed.

Giannis then went on to explain how Germany just earned bragging rights to call themselves whatever title they please, just as they conquered the FIBA World Cup last week.

“And when you got, like for example now, I think Germany won the World Cup, correct?,” he started out. “Yeah, Germany can say, ‘Yeah, we are the world champs.’ They just won the World Cup. I think they beat the USA team, correct? Yeah, they beat the USA team and then they went in the finals and beat the Serbian team, so, in my opinion — his name is Noah, right? Man, I might get some backlash from this, but I really do not care: I totally agree with him.”

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here