“When I Am 45 Years Old I Might Be Bitter Too … Seeing This 20-Year-Old Signing A Three-Year 900 Million” | Giannis Antetokounmpo Claps Back At Gilbert Arenas

Image Credit: Giannis Antetokounmpo Twitter

Gilbert Arenas has always shown his big personality, but in retirement his opinion has loomed over the NBA narrative ruffling as many feathers as possible. His one consistent target is Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who Arenas feels is far from the top player in a talent-rich league.

“The media tries to shorten this gap and say he’s the best player in the league. Not even close, just stop it!” Arenas told current Lakers’ assistant head coach Phil Handy on the “No Chill Gil” podcast. “I can look at his game and say he doesn’t understand basketball yet. He plays the sport; he won a championship, cool! But he doesn’t understand how to be great, how to be better, how to train his body. I’m sorry, but, to be here, you have to train your body at least 38 minutes and above. LeBron played 37 minutes at 37. [Allen] Iverson was playing 43 minutes.”

Arenas has been critical of Giannis in the past, repeating his assertion that the “Greek Freak” doesn’t have the fundamentals of basketball firmly rooted in his game.

However, during his nine seasons in the NBA, Giannis has averaged 21.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists throughout 656 regular-season games. With an average playing time of 32.6 minutes, he is shy of Arenas’ prescription of playing between 37-43 minutes but has the accomplishments to validate his playing time. He’s won two MVP awards, one DPOY award, the MIP award, and the 2021 championship and Finals MVP.

Giannis was asked his opinion on Arenas’ perspective, and he offered a glimpse into how he internalizes it and his critique of Arenas.

“Does it bother me? I’m not going to lie; it makes me want to work harder,” Giannis said last week on the “The Starting Lineup” podcast. “Do I go back home and think about it and I can’t sleep? Not necessarily.”

“But at the end of the day, hey, I don’t know, when I am 45 years old, 50 years old, I might be, you know, a little bit bitter, too,” Giannis quipped. “I might be seeing, you know, this 20-year-old making, signing a three-year 900 million. Maybe, I don’t know, but I don’t think so.”

Still, Arenas’ critique of the Bucks big man has been undeterred.

“Learn how to play basketball,” Arenas told Shannon Sharpe on his “Club Shay Shay” podcast two years ago. “To be honest, he’s the James Harden of the East Coast. What James Harden is in the West is what Giannis is there. You have a guy who’s not a point guard, who dominates the ball, and he’s playing one style. And that style is, ‘I’m gonna try to take all the big men who can’t move off the dribble, Euro step and get some dunks.’ That is amazing during the regular season, but when that court gets small you can’t do that anymore.”

Arenas has offered advice for Giannis to balance his negative commentary narrative.

“Unless he learns how to play back-to-the-basket, where, when he gets the ball, teams are actually shifting, now [Khris] Middleton hit three threes, now they’ve gotta play you one-on-one, now you can go score, now you can do those little things,” Arenas continued.

The chasm between vets with platforms and current players continues, but Arenas knows how to hit the annoyance button to get his point across.


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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.