NBA

Are Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks Having the Most Fun in the NBA?

Expectations were high for the Milwaukee Bucks going into the 2019-20 season. After going 60-22 in 2018-19 and Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the MVP award, Milwaukee was primed for a great start to the season. The one lingering question mark for the season related to the team’s offseason moves. Most notably, the Bucks traded Malcolm Brogdon to the Pacers in exchange for draft picks. Brogdon enjoys a starring role in Indiana, leading the team in points and assists per game. To balance out the team, they signed three major players: Robin Lopez, Kyle Korver, and Wesley Matthews. Chemistry is critical in the NBA. Even as some teams succeed without practicing together, NBA coaches know that a team needs to mesh if they’re going to chase a championship.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates are having a blast

Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Bucks teammates are having a blast in the 2019-20 season, and not just because they're winning so many games.
Giannis Antetokpounmpo. | Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Bucks signed Robin Lopez to a two-year deal in one of the most underrated moves of the offseason. Amid worries that he and the other new Bucks wouldn’t fit in, Lopez quickly proved there was nothing to worry about. 

In addition to uniting with his twin brother Brook, Robin quickly found his place among the Bucks in the imaginary wrestling ring before games. Just like the NFL, NBA basketball is populated by massive, hulking athletes. It’s no surprise that some current NBA players are envisioning life as a wrestling superstar. The official Bucks Twitter account spent most of December chronicling the rise of pregame wrestling among the Milwaukee Bucks, recently culminating in a  tag-team championship for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Wesley Matthews.

The NBA and the WWE

Seeing NBA players mimic WWE wrestlers is nothing new, as the physical attributes required for both disciplines allow for plenty of crossovers. 

The late Darryl Dawkins acted as a judge at WrestleMania II, The Undertaker and The Big Show both played college ball, and plenty of NBA stars have even stepped into the squared circle. Recent history has seen spectacular in-ring appearances from Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone, along with Lavar and LaMelo Ball and Shaq garnering fewer accolades. 

While it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Giannis or the Lopez brothers making their way to a WWE appearance, it’s clear that the Bucks are focusing on the NBA. Milwaukee is keeping its eyes on a first-place finish in the East as the second half of the season starts.

Why the Bucks are all-in on fun

While some coaches demand seriousness among the team, it’s clear that allowing the Bucks to have a little fun is bringing out their scariest selves. Asked about the role of the backups in today’s Bucks team, George Hill responded

“Our job is to come in and impact the game with our Bench Mob unit and have fun doing it.” 

Giannis Antetokounmpo The Bucks are focusing on playing their best and having the most fun. Even a four-game win streak by the Celtics put them four games behind the Bucks in the East.

Opponents already dread stepping into Fiserv Forum, where the Bucks are 15-2 so far this year. It probably doesn’t reassure them knowing that minutes before game time, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lopez are loosened up and having fun. 

During trade talks, the Bucks GM doubled down on their dedication to keep the team’s core together. Despite opening themselves up to a $50,000 fine for discussing the future of players, GM Jon Horst confirmed they would offer Giannis a supermax deal. The Greek Freak’s presence in Milwaukee has brought the Bucks hype to a level the city hasn’t seen since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 

The Bucks are built around their young superstar, and his presence on the court is only growing. Giannis has shown a propensity to kick it into high gear at the end of games, so it will be exciting to see if the same killer instinct will be present during the second half of the season. Either way, the Bucks are going to have a great time.