When you watch someone like Giannis Antetokounmpo play a game of basketball, it’s easy to think he’s not human. The Milwaukee Bucks forward is called the Greek Freak for a reason; due to his unique blend of size, skill, and athleticism, he’s able to do just about anything on the hardwood. On Tuesday, however, Giannis reminded everyone that he’s not perfect.
During the Bucks’ game against the Washington Wizards, Giannis Antetokounmpo let his temper get the best of him; he headbutted Moe Wagner and was promptly ejected. At that moment, the young star reminded everyone that, for all his ability, he’s still a human being.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a one-of-a-kind NBA star
One of the best things about sports is watching athletes perform incredible feats of athleticism. During his time in the NBA, though, Giannis Antetokounmpo has established himself as more than just a talented player.
Purely from an on-court perspective, it’s easy to see why Giannis has become a star. When the forward arrived from Greece, he was a lanky teenager with plenty of potential; now, he’s literally and figuratively filled out. Antetokounmpo now possesses both the body and the skill set to dominate the NBA. After cruising to the 2019 NBA MVP crown, he’s averaging 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, and 5.6 assists this season.
There’s more to the legend of Giannis, though. His rise from a tough childhood in Greece to an NBA star sounds like something out of a fairy tale. As a boy, Antetokounmpo couldn’t afford to buy new basketball sneakers; now, he has his own deal with Nike.
Despite his relatively newfound fame and fortune, the Greek Freak seems like a pretty humble guy. After moving to the United States, he tweeted about trying his first smoothie; even as a star, he tends to praise, rather than call out, his opponents. If you were designing a perfect player to be the face of your league, it would be tough to do better than Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Losing his cool and headbutting Moe Wagner
Normally, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a pretty cool customer. In the NBA bubble, however, things have gotten a bit heated.
When the Bucks faced off with the Brooklyn Nets, Giannis and Donta Hall were battling for position in the paint; Antetokounmpo ended up on the floor and didn’t appreciate his opponent’s actions. Nothing really came of the incident—there was a minor confrontation before the two men were separated—but it was still unusual to see the Greek Freak react like that.
On Tuesday, however, things went even further. “In a tense second quarter in which he had been fouled several times, Giannis finally lost his temper after a charge call,” Sam Quinn of CBS Sports explained. “The Bucks called timeout, but Antetokounmpo, in his frustration, delivered a headbutt to Wizards big man Moe Wagner. He was called for a flagrant-2 foul and ejected.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he’s human, just like everyone else
On Tuesday, the normally unflappable Giannis Antetokounmpo reminded basketball fans that he’s only human. After the game, he even said it himself.
“Terrible action,” Antetokounmpo explained, according to ESPN. “If I could go back, turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn’t do it. But at the end of the day, we’re all human, we all make mistakes. I think I’ve done a great job all year, in my career at keeping my composure and focus on the game, but at the end of the day, we’re human and make mistakes. But at the end of the day, you learn from it, keep playing good basketball and keep moving forward.”
When you watch Giannis Antetokounmpo play basketball, he can almost seem like a perfect creature, created solely to dominate on the hardwood. On Tuesday, however, the Greek Freak reminded us that he’s still a human being. While getting ejected from games isn’t a good look, that perspective arguably makes his high standard of play even more impressive; what’s ordinary for Giannis is still pretty impossible for the rest of us.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference