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Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the rare NBA superstar who prefers to avoid the spotlight. Free of ego and statistically jaw-dropping, Giannis is quickly ascending to A-list status in the often Hollywood-like theater that is the NBA. With the season nearing its conclusion, the league would be wise to follow through on Clay Travis‘ suggestion to make Antetokounmpo, a two-time MVP, the face of the league.
Giannis, speaking a second language, says something more profound here than most athletes ever will in their first language. NBA would be smart to abandon LeBron and make him the face of the league. pic.twitter.com/Z3VO3Ux3s4
“When you focus on your past, that’s your ego. When you focus on your future, that’s your pride,” Giannis told reporters ahead of Game 5 of the NBA Finals. “The Greek Freak” continued,: “When you focus on the present, that’s humility.”
Antetokounmpo is refreshingly different than the majority of NBA players, stars and role players alike. Rather than follow the masses and join a super team, Giannis opted to take the road less traveled and re-sign with small-market Milwaukee last summer. A trip to the Finals likely would’ve been easier elsewhere, but nowhere near as satisfying as doing so with the team that drafted you. Something few players today can identify with.
Giannis’ humility is even more appealing when you realize that his egoless comments followed two-plus days of media praise for his historic Game 4 block.
GIANNIS CAME UP CLUTCH 😤
A HUGE block when it mattered pic.twitter.com/ZbyMCj8L1s
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 15, 2021
Gaudy numbers, highlights, and humility aside, Giannis’ most endearing trait may be his old-school approach when it comes to not buddying up to the competition: “I can’t work out with you in the summer and then play you in a few months,” Antetokounmpo told The Athletic. “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.”
Antetokounmpo continued, discussing his reasoning for turning down offseason workouts with the likes of LeBron and Durant: “I hate it when …(imitating posing for a picture with another star) “I hate that. I don’t want (opponents) to see me to be buddy buddy with me.”
Should he be the face of the league? Buck yeah, he should.