Milwaukee Bucks: How Giannis Antetokounmpo views free throw chanting

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 06 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 06 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have certainly created many storylines en route to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974.

Unfortunately, one of the most prominent headlines involving the team has primarily revolved around Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw shooting. Rather than focusing on his individual dominance during this run, the hottest topic of discussion has been how opposing crowds are doing everything possible to try and get into his head when he is at the stripe.

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The Bucks kicked off the NBA Finals against the Suns on Tuesday, and it did not take long for that vibrant Phoenix crowd going when No. 34 stepped to the line. Hoping to throw Antetokounmpo off or potentially get a 10-second violation called, counting chants filled the arena.

One reporter asked the Greek Freak during Wednesday’s media availability whether or not the counting impacts his routine. Via the Milwaukee Bucks’ official YouTube:

"“In the first free throw I shoot, I’m kinda like, ‘Oh, yeah, here we go again,’ but by like the fifth or sixth, tenth, you know, when we go down the line, it kinda fades off. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to embrace it, you cannot fight it. You’ve got to embrace it and it’s part of me now, so yeah, I just embrace it and I don’t feel pressure, no.”"

Amidst the hostility, Antetokounmpo shot 7-of-12 from the stripe, going through with his typical lengthy routine. This nuisance has followed him throughout the postseason, and he is prepared to weather the storm on the biggest stage in the Finals.

These recurring free throw chants will certainly not be going away for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks anytime soon

He will certainly have to embrace it, particularly as he is currently shooting his worst percentage from the line throughout his playoff career at 54.1 percent. Antetokounmpo has never been the most outstanding shooting from the stripe, to say the least, but the rivaling fans have found a new weapon to try and utilize against him, and they will take the advantage.

It all started in round one against the Miami Heat, where Antetokounmpo went to the line with just over a minute to play in a closely contested Game 1. Giannis squared up and went through with his usual routine at the line but was abruptly hit with a 10-second violation, turning the ball back over to the Heat. Since then, the opposing fans have come together in unity to start their own chant counting to 10 and beyond as soon as Antetokounmpo grasps the basketball.

Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have endured this intense war cry versus the Miami Heat, the Brooklyn Nets, the Atlanta Hawks, and now the Phoenix Suns. He has had his share of mishaps at the line, including those dreaded 10-second violations and several ugly airballs during this run, but Antetokounmpo will not let that deter his confidence when he gets an opportunity at the stripe to put a few extra points on the board.

Following that blunder in the opener against Miami, Antetokounmpo was called for a 10-second violation once more in these playoffs, that being Game 3 against Brooklyn. It is such a rare call to be made by the officials that many did not know it existed before this postseason. Yet, it has become a dominant storyline in these playoffs as teams look to gain any edge whatsoever.

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This counting will likely follow Giannis throughout his career moving forward, and hopefully he can silence those chants by knocking in his shots when he gets to the line.