Is Giannis Really Humble? Ladder Toss Says Otherwise

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s decision to practice his free throws after a terrible loss to the Philadelphia 76ers led to a ladder toss and arena personnel disrespect. The NBA star wanted to practice free throws after his Bucks squad lost to the 76ers, but when arena employees using a tall ladder were attempting to do their job under the basket, the Greek freaked.

The incident was captured on video by some fans still in the Wells Fargo Center Friday night in Philadelphia, tainting Giannis’s good guy image.

“I’ve never tried to disrespect anyone in any way, shape or form,” Antetokounmpo said more than an hour after the game. “I feel like today is just an unfortunate event that took place,” Giannis said to the waiting media.

During the Bucks’ 110-102 loss to the Sixers, Giannis dropped 25 points but came up short from the free throw line; he shot 4-for-15 (27%) from the line. It was his second straight horrendous play at the free throw line after a 4-for-11 night at the line in Wednesday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After the game, Antetokounmpo left the locker room to practice free throws, made seven free throws of his on court routine 10 in a row, and after shooting his eighth, 76ers’ Montrezl Harrell took the ball and wouldn’t give it back. He wasn’t feeling Antetokounmpo preventing him from getting in his work ahead of Philadelphia’s back-to-back game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

“I respect every player,” Antetokounmpo said. “I know some players don’t play now, they want to get some extra work, want to work on their skills and stuff, and I said, obviously we can shoot together. They said, they told me no, this is their court, I should leave.

“I was like, I have three more free throws, I was at seven, I want to try to make 10 in a row. I shot my eighth one. Came and took the ball away from me and I was very surprised. I feel like it’s very unprofessional. I would never take the ball away from a professional athlete when he’s trying to do his job.”

When his older brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, tried to talk to Harrell at the other end of the court, Harrell left with the ball.

“Aye make sure you get the complete story,” Harrell later tweeted. “I ask the man can he get off the court so I can workout they had to change the court over he ignore me so hey that’s what you get! Respect is respect! GOODNIGHT!”

Next, Giannis got two more balls from Philadelphia’s locker room and returned to the court to finish his routine, but the arena staff had a ladder in front of the basket.

“I went back out there to shoot and there was a ladder in front of me,” Antetokounmpo said. “And I said, ‘Can you please move the ladder? And they said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Can you guys please move the ladder?’ They said, ‘No.’ I was like, ‘Guys, I have two more free throws, can you please move the ladder?’ And they said, ‘No.'”

Then Antetokounmpo walked from the free throw line to the basket and moved the ladder out of the way. Arena workers stood their ground and moved the ladder back in front of the basket, causing Antetokounmpo to shove it out of his way, where it fell over on its side.

Antetokounmpo went on to finish his routine, leaving the court visibly upset.

“At the end of the day, I think everybody knows my character,” Giannis continued. “I think the people that know my character know I never try to disrespect anybody within the NBA, within my coaching staff, within the opposing team. I respect with the best words about any player whenever I’ve been asked. Or I’ve never disrespected an opponent coach or a coaching staff.

“Or whenever I shoot and finish my routine, from my rookie year until now, I always shake every ball boy’s hand and make sure I thank them for the work I do because I know it’s hard to do their job chasing balls over and over and over again and make sure they’re OK. I do it for my ball boys and ball girls in Milwaukee. They help us when we shoot, and I try to do it on the road too. I’ve been known for this.”

Giannis’ free throw troubles are now deeper than basketball and creeping into the decency factor.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.