NBA

Giannis: My next challenge might not be with Bucks

By Sports Desk November 16, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo hinted that his next challenge may not be with NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks.

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to their first NBA title in 50 years last season, earning the Finals MVP award after a dominant series averaging 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists against the Phoenix Suns.

The two-time NBA MVP had reiterated his commitment to the Bucks in December when he signed a super-max five-year, $228million contract extension, the largest in league history.

However, the 26-year-old suggested his future may be away from Milwaukee.

"One challenge was to bring a championship here and we did," Antetokounmpo told GQ. "It was very hard, but we did. Very, very hard. I just love challenges. What's the next challenge? The next challenge might not be here.

"Me and my family chose to stay in this city that we all love and has taken care of us – for now. In two years, that might change.

"I'm being totally honest with you. I'm always honest. I love this city. I love this community. I want to help as much as possible."

Antetokounmpo's agent Alex Saratsis tried to water down the comments, clarifying that they were about his ambition not switching teams.

"I don't think it's, 'I'm thinking about leaving the Bucks'," Saratsis said. "But I think he's genuinely like: 'Okay, I have reached the pinnacle. The next challenge is, let's repeat'.

"But what happens if you do repeat? What's the next challenge? What is that next barrier? When you think about it from a basketball perspective, by the age of 26, this kid has accomplished everything. So sometimes you're going to have to manufacture what those challenges are."

Antetokounmpo is averaging 26.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game across 13 games this season, with the Bucks sitting 6-8.

Athens-born Greek star Antetokounmpo joined the Bucks as the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Swiatek 'pretty overwhelmed' to see Serena back in SW19 Wimbledon: Swiatek 'pretty overwhelmed' to see Serena back in SW19

    Serena Williams' presence at Wimbledon has left world number one Iga Swiatek "pretty overwhelmed".

    Williams is making her long-awaited return to action at the All England Club, as the 40-year-old takes another shot at matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam victories.

    The American has played only two competitive matches – both alongside Ons Jabeur in the doubles at the Eastbourne International – since she sustained a hamstring tear at last year's Wimbledon, but is back on a wildcard.

    Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber, although it seems a long shot for her to be challenging for honours this time around.

    That is in part due to the remarkable form of top seed Swiatek, who heads to SW19 on the back of a 35-match winning streak that she is aiming to extend.

    The Pole was not born when Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1998, but she was the junior champion at the All England Club in 2018 and has since won the French Open twice. She is aiming to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 to win two singles slams in the same season.

    Yet Swiatek remains in awe of Williams.

    "I saw her yesterday, I was pretty overwhelmed," said Swiatek in a news conference on Saturday.

    "I didn't know how to react. I wanted to meet her. I saw that she had so many people around her. I don't know her team. It was pretty weird.

    "But just seeing her around is great because she's such a legend, there's nobody that has done so much in tennis.

    "I'm pretty sure that she's going to be in good shape because she has so much experience coming back from breaks or just playing in grand slams. I think she can use it."

    Swiatek has never progressed past the fourth round of the singles at Wimbledon and will be making her first appearance of the season on grass when she takes on Jana Fett on Tuesday.

    "Honestly I still feel like I need to figure out grass," she said. "Last year for sure, it was that kind of tournament where I didn't know what to expect.

    "Then match by match I realised maybe I can do more and more.

    "I didn't have a lot of time to prepare. But I'm just trying to stay open-minded and kind of take positives from the situation and realise that I can play without any expectations."

  • Kvitova eases past Ostapenko to claim Eastbourne International crown Kvitova eases past Ostapenko to claim Eastbourne International crown

    A tremendous performance from Petra Kvitova saw her ease past Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets 6-3 6-2 to win the Eastbourne International on Saturday.

    Reigning champion Ostapenko had not dropped a set on the way to the final, but could not halt Kvitova, who was making her first appearance in a final in 2022.

    The former world number two – and two-time Wimbledon champion – made a strong start, breaking Ostapenko early on and racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

    Ostapenko, the Latvian number eight seed, faced eight break points in the opening set, saving seven, but she was unable to force any of her own as Kvitova comfortably served out to move ahead.

    Kvitova was hitting the ball with immense power, particularly on returns, but Ostapenko showed initial improvement in the second set with her first serve accuracy, which had been down at 55.9 per cent in the first.

    However, it was not enough to keep her opponent at bay as some more fierce returning from Kvitova saw her break in the third game of the second set.

    Ostapenko finally threatened to break the Czech's serve, but was unable to take any of the five break points she earned in a game that lasted more than 12 minutes.

    Her first serve dropped off again, which allowed the relentless Kvitova to take full advantage, breaking for a second time before serving for the championship and sealing her first-ever Eastbourne title.

    It was Kvitova's 29th triumph on the WTA Tour, but her first since March 2021. Her last success on grass had come in Birmingham four years ago.

  • England 'will be favourites' at Euro 2022, says Netherlands coach Parsons England 'will be favourites' at Euro 2022, says Netherlands coach Parsons

    Netherlands head coach Mark Parsons believes England are favourites for the Women's Euro 2022 after seeing his team well beaten by the Lionesses on Friday.

    England ran out 5-1 winners at Elland Road, with goals from Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead (two), Ella Toone and Lauren Hemp sealing an emphatic victory.

    England's previous meeting with the Oranje was a 3-0 reverse in the Euro 2017 semi-finals, though the Lionesses maintained their record of having never lost back-to-back games against the Netherlands.

    Sarina Wiegman was managing the Dutch side that day as they went on to win their home tournament, and now has the chance to do the same with England.

    Speaking after the game, Parsons expressed his admiration for England, pointing to their home advantage and resources.

    "This is our third top opponent we've faced," he said. "Brazil, we felt we should have won, France, we weren't good and didn't deserve to draw or win.

    "Tonight, I think England will be favourites in the Euros where they're at, the qualities of players, the home crowd, the resources that the WSL have been putting in, the work the clubs have been doing. You add all that up, it's very hard to see that they're not favourites."

    Netherlands will be in Group C at Euro 2022 along with Sweden, Portugal and Switzerland, starting off against the Swedes at Bramall Lane on July 9.

    "Very difficult evening. I think the one thing we wanted to avoid by taking on such a big game, big opponent early in our preparation, was this outcome" Parsons admitted, before suggesting that England's extra preparation time after the end of their season played a big part.

    "If we had avoided this outcome, I think we will only be taking positives. I feel a big responsibility because I knew how big of a step this would be.

    "Also, I was aware of the English league finishing May 11. They got their holiday, they got in two weeks before us that they would be in this place, but was aggressive and ambitious in having the game when it was, hoped that we'd be in a controlled position at 60 minutes because the minds probably would have carried the bodies at that point."

    The contest had been relatively even in the first half, with the score still 1-1 until the 53rd minute when Mead grabbed her first of the night.

    Three more goals in the last 18 minutes gave the game a scoreline that had not seemed likely at the break, and Parsons took some solace in that, while taking some of the blame himself.

    He added: "Some of the great decision-making we had in the first half had gone [in the second], so it's going to feel like two games. Analysing the first 55, 60 minutes and throwing the last 30, 35 minutes in the bin very quickly because I don't think there'll be anything worth taking from that due to the level where we're at physically, which is normal, but the organisation didn't help the players at that point.

    "When the [final] whistle went, I knew I was going to be analysing a shorter game... There'd be no point in looking any further because I let them down. At that point, the organisation should have been a lot safer, more defensive, because the legs had gone and England were just getting fresher and fresher with their changes.

    "With the home crowd, we felt it once or twice in the first half. In the second half it was the flags and the noise coming from the home crowd, which is an experience we needed to learn. Yeah. Tough night."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.