Giannis Antetokounmpo: Top 3 individual rivals in the league today

(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Houston Rockets:
Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Houston Rockets: /

James Harden

Unlike the “rivalry” between Antetokounmpo and James, this seems more personal. The ongoing feud between Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden was one of the NBA’s most compelling rivalries before the season was suspended.

Going all the way back to the conclusion of last season, Harden shared his thoughts on being “snubbed” from the MVP award as Antetokounmpo took it home.

"“I think once the media creates a narrative about somebody from the beginning of the year, I think they just take that narrative and run with it the entire year.”"

These comments created the narrative that there was some bad blood between the two, but nothing ever came of it. The two teams faced off the season opener on October 24 of this year, and although many hoped for some interaction between the two, nothing out of the ordinary happened as the Bucks locked up a 117-111 victory.

After this game, many believed that both players moved on from the idea of this being a rivalry. However, that changed this past February during the NBA’s ALL-Star draft. As captain of the All-Star team, Antetokounmpo elected not to choose Harden as a reserve, jokingly saying:

"“I want somebody who’s going to pass the ball, that’s who I want.”"

This shot seemed like a harmless joke at the time, but Antetokounmpo took it a step further in the post-game interview after the All-Star game, stating:

"“Offensively, we went with whoever James Harden was guarding. That’s who we thought we’d have an opportunity to score on.”"

Harden, clearly not happy, clapped back in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols when asked about these comments, stating:

"“But I wish I could just run and be 7 feet and just dunk. Like that takes no skill at all.”"

Antetokounmpo soon downplayed the idea of a rivalry between the two afterward and brushed it off. However, there is undoubtedly going to be an intensified feeling every time these two face off from now on because of both players’ comments directed at one another.

The first time these two face off again could potentially become an NBA classic due to both players knowing their past. Unfortunately there is no timetable for that at the moment.  The suspension of the NBA postponed a matchup on March 25, but whenever the two face off next, all eyes will focus on those two MVPs.