NBA

Lakers Fans’ Imaginations Are Running Wild After Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Instagram Live

If a player reaches a certain level of NBA stardom, they best believe they’ll be rumored to be a Laker. After all, a large percentage of the NBA’s biggest stars were Lakers at some point. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a popular target for Lakers speculation, but a recent video of him and his girlfriend added fuel to the fire. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Lakers?

The Lakers are perennial contenders to land meetings with free agents. Even in the years leading up to LeBron James when the team wasn’t winning, they were a constant source of interest. The Lakers are among the most storied franchises in pro sports; they play in one of the entertainment capitals of the world, and they’re willing to throw as much money as possible to attract athletes. 

There are several ways to connect Antetokounmpo back to LA. The internet constantly speculates about every player when it comes to teams, but some theories connecting the Lakers to Antetokounmpo have traction. One of the obvious connections is through blood. Giannis’s younger brother, Kostas, has been with the team and its G-League affiliate all season. 

Jason Kidd, who serves as head coach Frank Vogel’s lead assistant, was Antetokounmpo’s coach for much of his rise. Rumors stated the Lakers did this on purpose, as Kidd and Antetokounmpo got along well in Milwaukee. Still, assistant coaches come and go. Whether this factored into the Lakers’ forcible hiring of Kidd this last offseason or not, it’s flimsy evidence at best. 

Antetokounmpo has discussed playing in Los Angeles before, but never in definitive terms. There is enough smoke out there to say he has an interest in the Lakers, but anything making it a foregone conclusion is likely grasping at straws. 

Would Antetokounmpo leave?

Antetokounmpo is the type of generational talent who could sign with any of the league’s 30 teams if he expressed interest. Right now, he’s a Buck. While Milwaukee is not, historically, a hotbed for free agents, the franchise has produced several great NBA players. Antetokounmpo takes pride in being a Buck and has spoken about his love for both the team and city. 

He declared his love for the city in a blog he wrote for Eurohoops.net in 2017. “Right now I feel like I want to play for the Milwaukee Bucks forever…” Antetokounmpo wrote. “I’m a guy who doesn’t really care about glamour and big markets. I like to be home all day. I get up in the morning, I take a shower and I go to practice. When I’m finished, the only thing that’s on my mind is to go back home and spend time with my family. I usually feel that I prefer to hide from people.”

Until Antetokounmpo re-signs with his team, however, the rumors will persist. 

Did Antetokounmpo’s girlfriend spark a rumor?

Like so many other players passing time without the NBA, Antetokounmpo took to social media to connect with fans. During an Instagram video, he took questions. Antetokounmpo’s girlfriend, Mariah Riddlesprigger, interrupted to hooper to drop some news on him. “I was a Lakers fan growing up,” she said per SI.com.

Antetokounmpo, clearly amused, joked that he needed to log off. Every player has teams growing up, as do their spouses. But sometimes, life takes them a different way. This was likely the case with Riddlesprigger, but if people on the internet love one thing, it’s reading between the lines and jumping to their own conclusions.