For only the second time in the last 11 seasons, LeBron James is not participating in the NBA Finals. The Los Angeles Lakers star went on an epic run of eight straight Finals appearances between 20111 and 2018 but hasn’t been as consistent in recent years mostly due to injury. Despite not playing, LeBron did have a chance to show up to Game 5 of the current matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns to show support of his friend Chris Paul.
Giannis Antetokounmpo took note of the superstar showing up and had a chance to talk about it.
“But this is crazy, this is a crazy story, this is not a promo,” Antetokounmpo said Monday. “The night before I was watching Space Jam on HBO. So I was watching Space Jam, you know, and there he goes, he’s in the courtside seating.”
Giannis is referencing Space Jam: A New Legacy, which just came out last week. The former MVP actually was offered a role in the film but turned it down to focus on his team.
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Giannis Says He Didn’t Engage With LeBron
LeBron has been in the NBA for 18 years now so it was a bit surreal for Giannis to see the superstar sitting courtside. The Bucks star noted just how long LeBron has been in the league.
“First time he was in the Finals was 2007. I wasn’t playing basketball,” Antetokounmpo said. “That’s crazy to think about.”
When a star player like LeBron shows up to a game, it’s common for the playing stars to interact with them. However, Giannis made it clear that he has no interest in engaging with anybody on the sideline.
“I didn’t have a chance to engage with him. I wouldn’t engage with him. That’s something that I don’t do, it doesn’t even matter who. It might be my mother sitting in the courtside seat, I don’t engage with them when I’m playing. I just try to focus as much as possible.”
Giannis has always been a very focused player and not even arguably the greatest basketball player ever could break that.
Are the Bucks Set to Win the Title?
For a while, the Suns looked destined to win a championship. They breezed through the Western Conference and took a quick 2-0 lead in the Finals against the Bucks. However, the momentum has completely switched. Milwaukee now holds a 3-2 lead and is headed home to possibly close out the series.
If Phoenix loses, that will be a massive gut punch to Chris Paul, who is appearing in the Finals for the first time. Many would like to see the future Hall of Famer win a title, including LeBron. That’s looking less likely as he hasn’t played particularly well in the few games. As of right now, it looks like it’s the Bucks’ title to lose. Giannis is another superstar desperate for his first championship and it looks like he’ll be bringing one home.