The Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA Championship as the third seed two years ago. During the regular season, they won 46 games. They have won 58 games this season and were the top seed in the playoffs. Despite the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player to average more than 20 points per game. In fact, Giannis led the team on his back averaging 31.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.
But it all fell apart in the playoffs. The Miami Heat played relentlessly and constantly looked like the better team. Plus, with Giannis injured for most of Game 1, as well as the entirety of Games 2 and 3, the Bucks’ great vulnerability was on full display. Sealing the series victory 4-1 with a 128-126 victory in overtime on Wednesday night, the Heat became the fifth seed eight to lose a seed. They also became the first to do so since 2011, when the Grizzlies upset the Spurs. In addition, the Heat also became the first team to defeat a single seed and be upset as a single seed.
Giannis defends the team and the season
Giannis highlights: “In sport there is no such thing as failure. There are good days, bad days, some days you can succeed, some days you can’t, some days it’s up to you, some days you can’t. That’s what sport is all about. You don’t always win.” pic.twitter.com/aTnFpnGtdx
—Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 27, 2023
Giannis’ post-game press conference will go down in history as a defining moment of these playoffs. The striker was visibly frustrated when asked by The Athletic’s Eric Nehm if he considered the season a “failure”. Nehm also asked head coach Mike Budenholzer the same question later in the news conference. Giannis rubbed his hands over his face as he muttered “oh my God” before responding.
You asked me the same question last year. Okay, do you get a promotion every year? In your job? No, right? So your job is a flop, yes or no? No. Every year you work, you work for something. Which is to get a promotion, take care of your family, give them a house, take care of your parents. It’s not a failure, it’s steps to success… There are always steps to achieve it. Michael Jordan played 15 years, won 6 championships. So the other 9 years were a flop? Yes or no? [Nehm: No] Exactly, so you’re asking me the wrong question. There is no failure in sports. There are good days, bad days. Some days you can be successful, others not. Some days it’s your turn, some days it’s not your turn. That’s what sport is all about. You don’t always win. Some other people are going to win. This year, someone else is going to win, simple as that. Next year we are going to come back and try to be better and develop good habits. Try to play better. Not having a stretch of 10 days in which we played bad basketball. And hopefully we can win a championship. Those 50 years from 1971 to 2021 in which we didn’t win a championship, were they 50 years of failure? No he was not. They were steps for it. And we were able to win one and hopefully we can win another”.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, April 26
Giannis proceeded to apologize to Nehm for “taking it personal,” but his overall message quickly resonated throughout the sporting world. The comments on Schefter’s tweet are full of people hailing Giannis as a role model and hero. Additionally, he was retweeted by notable figures like JJ Watt. He was also shared by numerous youth basketball programs, who however, of course, have a handful of detractors who argued that “but of course there is failure in sport.” Regardless, Giannis made a powerful statement about how he defines success and how he approaches the sport he loves.