Giannis Antetokounmpo gave an honest response when TNT reporter Chris Haynes asked him why he doesn’t work out with other current NBA superstars.
“I cannot fake it,” the Milwaukee Bucks superstar said.
Antetokounmpo’s answer is a reminder of the type of special talent he is in today’s game. He combines his modern-day skillset with an old-school competitive nature. He is not interested in posting videos on social media working out with other NBA stars, which is quite refreshing when you think about it.
Can you imagine Larry Bird working out with Magic Johnson during the height of their playoff wars in the 1980s. Or can you imagine Michael Jordan seen working out with Isiah Thomas when the Detroit Pistons were bitter rivals with Jordan’s Chicago Bulls? It was unthinkable back then. But nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see NBA stars. Former NBA MVP Kevin Durant worked out with 2023 NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero. Reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid and Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum both train with famed skills trainer coach Drew Hanlen. Hanlen is the founder of Pure Sweat, a basketball performance and strategic skills firm that has an A-list clientele that includes Embiid, Tatum, Bradley Beal, and Zach LaVine.
One NBA superstar you won’t be seeing in these viral video workouts is Giannis.
“How can you work out together when we are in the same league, we are going against one another. I’m trying to create something for my family, you’re trying to create something for your family,” Antetokounmpo said. “The reason I’m not winning a championship is you. The reason why I’m working out every single day (is you.) You are getting in my path, in my way. How the hell do I work out with you?”
Antetokounmpo is unapologetic when it comes to his temperament. He wears his heart and emotions on his sleeve. Just like the way he attacks the basket, he has a hard time holding back.
“I don’t know how to be fake,” he told Haynes, who couldn’t stop laughing while Giannis explains, in a candid and humorous way, why he finds hobnobbing with opponents is completely unnecessary.
“When you play them, you have to talk before the game with them,” Antetokounmpo said. “After the game, you have to sit down and have another conversation with them. And then when you go to the family room you see them and you gotta talk to them. And then when you see them in the post, you want to put shoulder into their chest you cannot do it because they might say after the game, ‘C’mon man. Whatcha doing?’ I cannot play the game like that.”
Giannis does make an exception. His disdain for viral video buddy workouts only applies to current NBA players. If you are retired like NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, whom Giannis trained with this summer, it’s an acceptable arrangement.
“I do not work out with people playing in the NBA right now. If you are not in the NBA, I have no problem working out with you,” he said. “If you’re in the NBA and I’m gonna see you this season? As I said, when I get to the city I have to text you to come out and hang out for dinner. And then the next day I have to see you pregame and then after the game. I don’t even take wife on a date, why would I take you on a date?”
Antetokounmpo is a superstar athlete who bucks the norm. He always tries to give thoughtful responses, which is very refreshing.
He addressed his contract situation during the Bucks media day, reiterating that it does not make sense financially to sign an extension with the team this year. He said he wanted to be a Milwaukee Buck for the rest of his career as long as the Bucks are committed to winning.
“I don’t remember where I said it, but I said it did not make sense to sign a contract right now because money isn’t important. But a lot of fucking money is important, so I’m going to sign it next year,” Antetokounmpo said. “I gotta always look out for what’s best for me and my family, for my situation, but at the end of the day, I want to be a Milwaukee Buck for the rest of my career as long as we are winning. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “Like what do you expect me to say? To be a Milwaukee Buck and be a loser? That’s never going to come out of my mouth.”