1. Reputation at Stake
Giannis also has a reputation at stake, as he’s viewed in media circles as the wholesome rags-to-riches superstar, and constantly stirring up dissension was only going to change that narrative over the course of time. This is especially the case when you consider the fact that Harden has yet to disrespect Giannis since all of this began, which really has made Harden the bigger individual, with more class and respect to a fellow superstar.
On top of that, the media machine is only in love with a superstar for a short window of time, before they shift their focus to someone else. This is partly how the Greek Freak’s stardom arose in the first place. because the media wanted to see a “new star”, and they seemingly developed a fatigue towards Harden.
It’s also possible that Giannis realized the MVP award is at stake this year, and many in the media view LeBron James as their favorite for the award this year. There’s no established criteria of voting for the award, and the personal narratives have certainly played a part in the minds of voters over the years.
A personal feud such as this one takes the attention away from Giannis’ on-court production and onto the off-court narratives. If Giannis loses the reputation of the humble, selfless superstar, that would deter many of the narratives about him, which would certainly prevent him from getting the pass he’s accustomed to getting.
All in all, Giannis was wise to fan the flames between he and Harden, as he’s got alot at stake right about now. The last thing he wants and needs is negative attention, as he’s not used to that. And once that starts, it’s something that sticks in the eyes of the media, which is something James Harden has unfairly had to deal with.