Although Giannis Antetokounmpo can’t hit basketball court, the Milwaukee Bucks star is still finding ways to fill his time. The Greek Freak has given money to help arena workers who are out of work; he’s also been learning to play the guitar, playing chess, and spending time on social media. In a recent Instagram Q+A, however, Giannis may have done something more significant: potentially ending his beef with Houston Rockets guard James Harden.
While Antetokounmpo and Harden may have traded barbs during the season, the two may have buried the hatchet. But how did Giannis put the beef to bed?
Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden’s beef
In professional sports, rivalries are bound to develop over time. The beef between James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo, however, brought two of basketball’s biggest stars into conflict.
Although things might have been brewing for a while, the recent conflict came to a head after the All-Star Game Draft. Giannis was one of the team captains and joked that he wasn’t selecting Harden because he wanted “somebody that’s gonna pass the ball.” While the comment seemed like a simple, if boring, joke—Antetokounmpo is far from the first person to claim Harden is a ball stopper—the Houston Rockets guard didn’t appreciate it.
During an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Harden shot back. After pointing out the inaccuracy of the joke—he’s averaging 7.4 assists per game this season—the guard took a shot at Giannis’ game. “I wish I could be 7 feet, run, and just dunk. That takes no skill at all,” Harden said. “I gotta actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill. I’ll take that any day.”
Although Giannis didn’t engage in the war of words, he did respond on the court. Shortly after Harden’s comments, Antetokounmpo produced a record-breaking performance, scoring 41 points, grabbing 20 rebounds, and dishing out six assists in 35 minutes of action. A performance like that, regardless of your size, takes plenty of skill.
Paying a compliment to James Harden
After that record-setting performance, the beef between Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden seemed to fade into the background. With the season suspended, however, the Greek Freak may have put things to bed once and for all.
During a recent Instagram Live, someone asked Antetokounmpo for his opinion on the hardest player to guard in the NBA. Despite his girlfriend’s suggestion to nominate himself, Giannis eventually settled on someone else.
After thinking about the topic for a few seconds, Antetokounmpo looked back toward the camera. “I gotta go with James Harden,” he simply said before flashing a big smile.
Could Giannis Antetokounmpo just be trolling the Rockets guard?
Based on his smile, it’s possible that Giannis Antetokounmpo is just trying to troll James Harden as he did during the All-Star Game draft. Based on the Greek Freak’s character, though, that doesn’t seem too likely.
Shortly after Harden’s comments, Giannis also found himself pulled into another controversy. Joel Embiid called himself the best player in the world; as the presumptive heir to that title, Antetokounmpo was forced to respond. He didn’t blast the Sixers big man, however, but stated that every athlete should have supreme confidence in their own skills.
In his recent Instagram Live, Giannis Antetokounmpo may have buried the hatchet with James Harden. At this point, though, we’ll have to wait and see what happens once they’re back on the court.