It’s nice to know someone has your back even if you don’t necessarily need it. In the case of Chicago Bulls guard Goran Dragic, he certainly didn’t have to defend Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo against recent remarks.
Retired NBA veteran Gilbert Arenas. Arenas, who is prone to giving hot takes from time to time, delivered a doozy in regards to the six-time All-Star and All-NBA selection, Antetokounmpo.
“He doesn’t understand how to be great, how to be great, how to train his body, Arenas insisted on his ‘No Chill’ podcast. I’m looking at the stats ‘Oh, he’s playing 32 minutes, 34 minutes…’ I’m sorry, but to be here you have to train your body to at least 38 minutes or above. LeBron played 37 minutes at 37. Iverson was playing 43 minutes.” (h/t TalkBasket.net)
Though he never mentions Antetokounmpo by name, the NBA world is reacting accordingly.
Goran Dragic: Arenas ‘Can’t Talk About Giannis’
Dragic is busy trying to help Slovenia with gold in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 tournament. But he still caught wind of what Arenas said. The 13-year veteran did not mince words when it came to comparing Arenas’ career to Antetokounmpo’s.
“Giannis is the MVP,” Dragic told Giannis Rammas for Eurohoops.net. “Gilbert Arenas is not. Was he ever the MVP? I don’t think so. So he can’t talk about Giannis. Giannis won the championship, won the MVP award. He has been the defensive player of the year”.
Antetokounmpo earned five All-Defensive selections on top of that DPOY award as well as Finals MVP while leading the Bucks to their first championship in 50 years.
He’s also a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
“Sometimes when they retire they just want to be relevant and sometimes you come out in the media,” Dragic said of Arenas’ comments. “It is what it is.”
Arenas, whom Dragic called an “unbelievable” player and scorer, maxed out as a three-time All-NBA selection. That is nothing to sneeze at. But it is also a far cry from what Antetokounmpo has accomplished.
Dirk, RJ Slam Arenas Too
Dragic – a one-time All-Star and All-NBA selection himself – was not alone in dragging Arenas for his comments. Arenas’ collegiate teammate-turned ESPN analyst, Richard Jefferson had a much more direct approach to his friend’s remarks urging him to consider Antetokoounmpo’s impact instead of griping about his three-point shot.
Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki also chimed in marveling at Antetokounmpo’s progress.
“Unbelievable…he has gotten stronger, his skill level improved and he seems very hungry to still get better…He is one of the best players in the world and has shown it as a champion and an MVP.”
Mavs ‘Insane’ for Passing on Dragic
When Dragic signed with the Bulls, the Mavericks caught some heat on social media. He is close with Mavs superstar Luka Doncic. It was a decision Dragic says he made in part because the Mavs only wanted him to play sparingly.
The 36-year-old bristled at the thought and, now, Dallas could be looking to another EuroBasket participant, Dennis Schroder, to fill that void.
“If these bozos sign Dennis Schroder,” argued Tim Bontemps on the “Hoop Collective” podcast. “and didn’t sign Goran Dragic – Luka’s idol – to be the backup point guard off the bench, that would be completely insane.”