In a sitdown interview with Rachel Nichols on ESPN, Houston Rockets guard James Harden appeared to take a shot at last year’s MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
For whatever reason, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has shown he’s not exactly a fan of Houston Rockets guard James Harden. During this season’s NBA All-Star break, the 2019 NBA MVP seemed to take two shots at the Beard, with the first one happening during the Giannis versus LeBron team draft.
When asked by Charles Barkley why he wasn’t considering Harden, Giannis responded with “I want somebody that’s going to pass the ball.” While he was smiling and laughing as he said it, I can’t help but think there was some truth in jest from the Greek Freak.
In a postgame interview after the All-Star Game in which Harden’s Team LeBron narrowly defeated Team Giannis 157-155, Giannis had much less of a joking tone when he discussed his team’s strategy down the stretch.
“Basically we were just trying to find whoever James Harden was guarding. That’s where we’d have an opportunity to score,” Antetokounmpo revealed to reporters after the game.
As far as I can recall, there hasn’t been a specific incident that caused friction between Giannis and James, but in an ESPN interview that was released Friday, Rachel Nichols brought up the comment by the Greek Freak about James not passing the ball.
“Giannis made a joke on the air [saying] I want to take someone who can pass, I’m taking Kemba Walker,” prompted Nichols. “I average more assists than him, I think,” responded James, to which Nichols confirmed.
“I don’t get what the joke is. But I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. I just know none of them can mess with me,” continued Harden.
That wasn’t all James had to say, though. When asked about being underappreciated, James seemed to take a not-so-subtle dig back at Giannis:
“When it’s all said and done, they’ll appreciate it more. I wish I was seven-feet and could just run and dunk. Like, that takes no skill at all. I gotta actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill.”
While he didn’t mention any names, it’s hard to imagine James was referring to anyone other than Giannis. Considering Giannis has taken a couple of shots at the Beard recently, it was only a matter of time he’d be hit back with a response.
The Bucks took the first matchup with the Houston Rockets on opening night, 117-111, but this is an entirely new team. It will be interesting to see if any more sparks fly between the superstars before their next meeting on March 25th in Milwaukee.