Reactions to Gilbert Arenas’ take on Giannis Antetokounmpo

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 15: (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 15: (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

By now, it should be known to every NBA basketball viewer that Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is a generational talent, and he has plenty of accolades that already point toward that. A few days ago, another popular and “accomplished” former NBA player, Gilbert Arenas, took his words to social media to make one of the hottest takes the sports world has ever seen. On his podcast, No Chill with Gilbert Arenas, the former All-Star comes in with a take out of no where.

"He doesn’t understand basketball. He plays the sport, he won a championship, cool! He doesn’t really understand how to be great, how to be better, how to train his body."

The two-time MVP has had arguably the biggest body transformation seen in pro sports! All of these things make it more mind boggling every time you think about it, what was Arenas thinking? His take basically says that Antetokounmpo has only gotten stronger at attacking the rim and has not improved any other part of his game. (Which sounds like he got better.) The fact that Giannis has become such a dominant rim rocker has led to some calling him “just a bulldozer“, another false take to discredit the greatness unfolding in Milwaukee.

Arenas also stated that Giannis, a two-time league MVP, Champion and Finals MVP does not understand the game of basketball and how to be great at it. The most difficult part to wrap your head around is the fact that Arenas said Giannis does not know how to take care of his body.

Giannis entered the league at 210 pounds, and now he sits at 250 pounds after adding 40 pounds of pure muscle, to say he doesn’t know how to train is just flat out ignorant. This is the same guy who put up a monster finals performance on a nasty hyperextended knee he suffered just weeks earlier.

Obviously Antetokounmpo has gotten stronger and wiser at attacking the rim, but he has had tremendous improvements in ball-handling, passing, and overall decision making. All of those things must be elite in order for a player to be at the level Giannis is at, so there is no surprise there. Giannis has made mention of his efforts to improve his basketball IQ within the last couple years as well, so he is actively working on it.

Not to mention Giannis’ efforts to improve at the free throw line, he may not be at a great percentage, but he is starting to make free throws in high volume when it matters. On top of all of those improvements, Antetokounmpo is a much better mid-range shooter than people think. He became good at all of these things by training and maintaining his body. Giannis hasn’t had too many injuries, which also attests to the training he does.

Giannis has improved in every facet of the game since he became a league all-star. Evidenced by the fact that Giannis won the leagues Most Improved Player award in 2017. That is why Arenas is receiving major backlash from fans for the take he made.

Giannis had one of the best finals performances in recent history, which most people seem to overlook at times. Pretty hard to rationalize how a guy who averaged 35, 13, and 5 in the finals doesn’t understand how to be great. Essentially, Arenas’ point boils down to the fact that Giannis doesn’t have to play 35-40 minutes per game to be as dominant as he is.

By the time Giannis retries, there will be a chance you could split his career into two hall of fame careers. Looking back on this one, Arenas will definitely regret what he said. Unless he abides by the old adage “bad publicity is still publicity”. Plenty of people have made statements downgrading the player Giannis is, Charles Oakley for example, but this is definitely the wildest ones we have seen.

In regard to the part where Arenas states that Giannis does not know how to be great, that is the moment Arenas should branded as a casual NBA “analyst” by fans. Too many analysts out there are paid to talk about the game, but they don’t really watch a lot of players or teams, just certain ones and then make outlandish comments like this one, seemingly just for attention. Arenas certainly falls into the worst of the worst for that category of analysts. Giannis is an elite player on both ends of the floor, and he understands what he needs to do for the team night in night out. At age 27, Giannis has 2 MVP awards, a Finals MVP, and a Defensive Player of the Year award. He still has more time to add to that resume (Gilbert Arenas had a grand total of 0 of those things). Not to mention that Giannis has already appeared in twice as many All-Star games.

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Antetokounmpo has a legendary work ethic, and humbling attitude towards the game. All of those things are reasons he has set himself and his team up as contenders the next handful of years.