Newly crowned NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo took a swipe at “super teams” this week after the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, saying, “I did it the hard way.”
Antetokounmpo told reporters following his 50-point game win over the Suns to clinch the championship that he didn’t hesitate to re-sign with the Bucks following Milwaukee’s second-round departure from the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
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“I couldn’t leave. There was a job that had to be finished,” he said. “I feel like the bubble did not pay us justice. Give credit to Miami Heat, they played great… everybody was feeling homesick. We’re a family-oriented team, 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 lost.’ … obviously I wanted to get the job done.”
Antetokounmpo signed a record 5-year, $228 million extension with the Bucks in December, determined to make good on his word.
“It’s easy to go somewhere and go win a championship with somebody else,” he said. “It’s easy. I could go — I don’t want to put anybody on the spot — but I could go to a super team and just do. My part and win a championship. But this is the hard way to do it, and this is the way to do it and we did it.”
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Antetokounmpo didn’t name any names, but all signs point to the Brooklyn Nets, who came under heavy fire this season with the recent additions of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Charles Barkley said back in early June that he would be rooting against the Nets for the simple fact that they were an NBA superteam, which he called bad for business.
“I’m not a fan of super teams,” the TNT analyst said. “So listen, if they win it, they win it, but to be perfectly clear, I’m rooting against those guys. I root against all superteams.”
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“I just don’t think it’s good for business,” he continued, “but these young kids, they all fold to peer pressure and feel like they’ve got to win a championship or their life sucks. I don’t believe that.”
Antetokounmpo joked that now that he’s won, he’s ready for a trade.
“I’m out now. Can I leave now?” he said. “I want a trade. Who do I have to talk to about a trade?”