During the 2020 NBA All-Star Game Draft team captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were down to their final selections. The three players that remained on the board were Kemba Walker, Trae Young, and James Harden. When asked by the TNT studio crew why he selected Walker over Harden Giannis took a dig at the Nets star saying, “I want someone that’s going to pass the ball.” A statement that Harden had a stern reply to.
“I average more assists than him [Walker] I think so I don’t see what the joke is. I don’t pay attention to stuff like that I just know that none of them can mess with me,” Harden said to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “I wish I could just be 7 feet and run and just dunk. Like, that takes no skill at all. I’ve got to actually learn how to play basketball and have skill, you know? I’ll take that any day.”
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Giannis Antetokounmpo Addresses Harden ‘No Skill’ Comments
Most perceived Harden’s no skill comment as a jab at Giannis, but the Bucks star denies that there is any rift between him and Harden. Giannis believes that the beef was something made up by the media.
“First of all, Harden never mentioned my name. I have seen this video, about one year later. I think what he meant was that if he was also a 7-footer, jumped and dunk, it would have been easier for him,” Antetokounmpo said to COSMOTE TV via Eurohoops.
“I think that the media made it about me. Harden is a great player and when I am on the court against him, I have to play real hard. He is a Hall of Famer; I have nothing against him.”
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Giannis: “Don’t Call Me Champ”
After dropping 50 points in a close-out Game 6 to win his first NBA title and Finals Most Valuable Player award, many people were declaring Giannis as the best player in the world. Despite earning his right to be called champ, he would prefer that people hold their applause. With praise, comes comfort, and Giannis wants to keep the same hunger that helped get him to the mountaintop last season.
“Don’t call me champ. If you hear only compliments, you relax and this is something I don’t want can’t be fake. I am Giannis. But calling me MVP, calling me champ, calling me the best player in the world, is something that might hold me back. And I don’t want anything holding me back. I want to look forward and be better,” Giannis continued.
“That’s why I don’t train with other players. I don’t want to be buddy with them. If we do this and then drink a coffee with them, can I go in the court and use my elbow against them? Can I block or dunk on them? I can’t cause I am authentic. If I love someone, I love him also on the court. I am fully aware of that, and I don’t want to put myself in this position.”
Both coming back fully loaded the Nets and Bucks could meet again in this year’s NBA playoffs. Last year the two juggernauts gave us an explosive 7-game series. With the Nets coming back healthy this year, the sequel could be even better than the original.